Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Even on New Year's Eve

If the following items didn't find their way into your stocking, beneath your tree - or weren't even on your wish list to begin with, here are three purchases we recommend you budgeting for the new year:

1. One-year, chronological Bible
2. Gym membership
3. iPhone

If eating and living healthier is one of your new year's resolutions, there's no better way to jump start that endeavor than by purposing to set aside time for daily devotion. Spiritual health is connected to total wellness, and the simple prescription for spiritual growth and development is daily prayer and reading of God's Word (the Bible).

Next, get a gym membership and incentivize yourself by paying for a year in advance- you might even get a better deal this way. Take classes, pedal away, triumph over the treadmill, shoot some hoops, tone your muscle groups. Bodily exercise may only profit a little, but that little can go a long way over a long period of time.

Lastly, if you don't have to mortgage your house, buy an iPhone. It's a great piece of technology with helpful apps including useful calendars, note pads, task lists and reminders to keep you on track with your new year's resolutions.

There's a good chance you've tried making these resolutions before, and have failed. Don't be discouraged- the best resolutions are worth keeping, and thus repeating. I like Paul's perspective, and the way he summed up his life-long purpose and daily intention:

'Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14). '

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Favorite Gift

It's December 26th, but Christmas isn't over. Sure, retailers may cease from commercially celebrating this marketable season for another year, but the gift of the birth of Christ in the hearts of people is still brand new experience each and every day for millions. So, Christmas continues - but suffice it to say, there aren't any more presents around the base of our decorated Douglas Fir. We had a wonderful time this year with family, immediate, extended, and friends. The economic downturn didn't have the slightest affect on the time we spent or the memories we made.

Our favorite gift this year really wasn't ours, it was Rori's. It wasn't even wrapped - it was stuffed in her stocking.
What was it?? It was a little manger scene with figurines of Mary, Joseph, wise men, sheep and last but not least...baby Jesus.
(or 'baby Jee-suths!' as Rori exclaims). 'Baby Jesus' is no bigger than a clenched, two-year old fist and that's where He snuggled through the duration of our opening Christmas presents. He was kissed over and over, His name repeated every few minutes- and He even joined us at the table for breakfast burritos, salsa, potatoes, orange juice and coffee (compliments of Tawni, Mom, LeSharon and Crystal). Here's a picture from breakfast:



2 homes, 10 hours, 15 relatives and however many gifts later (including her first tricycle!) we pulled back into our driveway for more family time and desserts. The first thing Rori scrambled to find and could say when we walked in the door was, 'Baby Jee-suths!!!'

We looked at eachother and couldn't help but harbor tears in our eyes, we're doing something right! Who would've thought a $1 manger scene from the Dollar Tree could bring a little one (and her family) so much joy.

Whatever your favorite gift is this year, our prayer is that you too would be willing to cast all else aside and remember the most important gift of all - baby Jesus. As Fred Hammond sang, 'He is not just a baby - He is King!'

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hurry, it's Christmas eve - buy this (only 99 cents) and add it to your annual Christmas song repertoire, then have a very, Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Promised pics from prior post

Here are the pics I promised a couple of days ago from Redlands Youth Retreat

Worship service...


Altar service...


Rapping contest...


Sit-down soccer...


A view of the Gazebo and Chapel from my porch, B.S. (before snow)...


Me outside my cabin, in the freshly fallen snow...



Family dinner at 'OG', aka Olive Garden...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Get Wrapped Up In The Little Things

My motto for this Christmas Season is “Get Wrapped Up In The Little Things!” I intend to spend my time off this holiday with family, friends, my fireplace and a few good books. What activities do I have planned, well here’s my wish list…

Spend lots of time with Johannes & Rori Lane

photo courtesy of Scott Andrew Fine Photography

Part of which will be spent trying out potty training Rori (please pray for me)


Baking Christmas, New Years and whatever holidays I make up COOKIES while listening to Alabama sing "Thistlehair the Christmas Bear" or Sarah Brightman's version of "Silent Night" and just maybe "I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas"


SHOPPING until I drop


And my Holiday resolution this year, which I’m trying to start before 2009 even gets here is to…


Everything in life should be SIMPLIFIED, that doesn’t mean you have to lose the significance or “specialness” of any tradition or throw out EVERYTHING in your garage, but we can all use a little clean up, right?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Who needs Twitter , lol?

I'll post some pics from our recent expedition ASAP.


Friday, Dec. 12:

12:00am: get home from Crystal's 22nd birthday at Leatherby's
5:00am: alarm clock goes off, an hour before we're supposed to leave
6:00am: jump out of bed in a panic, overslept an hour
6:20am: Infiniti flies out of the driveway
7:50am: board Southwest flight to Ontario, CA
9:05am: land in Ontario, claim check-in bags
9:45am: hop in car with Brandon Wilmoth
10:15am: eat a chorizo & egg burrito at Baker's
10:50am: tee off at Shandin Hills
2:15pm: Brandon birdies the 15th hole w/ a 45 ft chip-in off the green
2:30pm: abandon Shandin Hills on the 16th hole
2:45pm: shower, change, relax
3:45pm: ate dinner @ Red Robin w/ Brandon
4:45pm: headed for the mountains & Redlands Youth Retreat
5:30pm: arrived at Mile High Pines - met each young person in the Dining Hall
6:00pm: turned wall heater on HIGH; reflected, prayed, reviewed notes
7:15pm: met for prayer in the chapel
7:30pm: Andrew Simpson led accoustic worship service
7:40pm: pre-sermon altar call; God's Spirit moves powerfully
8:45pm: still praying with young people; word of knowledge in operation- God calls young man to ministry in the local church; 2 receive the Holy Ghost!
9:00pm: 10 minute regroup message about 'making up our minds' & dismissal (get a text that God moved back home in Sac during our youth service)
9:30pm: fun & games, a chili-cheese dog & diet coke
12:00am: fall asleep in Shepherds Rest

Saturday, Dec. 13:

8:30am: breakfast bell wakes me up
8:45am: eat 2 pancakes, drink hot chocolate (its freezing)
10:15am: met for prayer in the chapel
10:30am: Ray led accoustic worship service
11:00am: Pastor BJ Wilmoth begins to preach a powerful message about creating a defensible area of your life where sin's fire cannot reach
11:05am: Bro. Wilmoth stops - unknowingly, points to same young & says 'you're going to be our next Jr. High Pastor; young man whips around & looks at me- very cool God moment!
11:45am: everyone huddles around their Pastor, praying
12:00pm: lunchtime; sandwich, peaches, orange & apple
1:00pm: phone calls home, prayer time
3:00pm: lay before the Lord (ok, I took a nap)
4:30pm: reflect, pray, review notes
5:30pm: Dinner; trying to be good, only ate a salad.
6:00pm: shower, dress for church; more prayer
7:15pm: met for prayer in the chapel
7:30pm: Nathan & Stacy White lead worship
8:00pm: preach a message about 'The Called Out Ones'
8:45pm: altars fill, God 'calls people out' & touches lives again
9:15pm: advised we need to leave or get snowed in (it snowed during service)
10:15pm: arrive at Chili's -eat a salad (ok, & burger bites)
12:00am: unload at Brandon & Rachael's house, stay up talking
1:00am: crash

Sunday, Dec. 14:
8:00am: alarm goes off, spend some time in prayer
9:00am: shave, shower, get ready for church
9:45am: run to Panera - Brandon eats a chocolate pastry
10:00am: service starts
10:45am: some youth pastor from Sacramento preaches
11:30: church responds, altars fill -1 man receives the Holy Ghost!
12:30: eat at Olive Garden w/ the entire Wilmoth family, Ralph, Chris & Logan McCorckle
2:30pm: Todd aborts his Sunday nap and drives me to airport
4:10pm: check in bags & board Southwest flight
5:30pm: land in Sacramento
6:00pm: the most beautiful red-head in the world picks me up, we kiss and head stratight to church
6:30pm: a packed church-house enjoys TRC's Childrens' Christmas Musical:'Dr. New Heart's Christmas'
9:00pm: eat at Cheesecake Factory with family & friends

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Favorite Team

'Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine' (I Tim. 5:17). Our purpose for this post is to publicly recognize the TRGYC nucleus, those who have been with us since day one, and whom we work together hand-in-hand with almost daily. While they may not chronologically qualify as elders, their tenure, growth and leadership, both in their personal relationship with God and in our local youth ministry IS most definitely worthy of double-honor. We are not wise when we compare ourselves among ourselves, but for a moment we will happily risk foolishness and proudly suggest that we have been privileged to work with one of the greatest youth ministry teams ever. There's not enough room to detail all they exactly do - and if you've ever been involved in youth ministry then you understand. Because of their leadership and labor in the doctrine and the Word, our young people have a better chance of 'becoming' and making it to Heaven. We love you all!

James & Emily Wilder, College & Career Pastor and Mission242 Founder/Director
Scott & Lalia Wilder, High School Experience facilitators & worship leader
Anthony & Sara Pizarro, Jr. High Experience facilitators
Kim Gutierrez, Jr. High Experience & InsideOutreach facilitator,
Nate & Amanda Sweetin, Creative mind & worship leaders
Steven Jones, Personal Assistant

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Manna

I grew up in the Bay Area. Naturally, when you wanted a Burger (notice the capital 'B'), you drove full speed down Webster Street until you ran into Nation's Giant Burgers. Nearly 11 years ago Sacramento introduced me to a somewhat steady diet of In-n-Out. I'll admit, sometimes there's nothing better after a Friday night youth service or activity than a double-double, well-done, no onions, with mustard instead of spread, light on the lettuce & tomato cheese burger, buns lightly toasted.
All that to say In-n-Out is still a fast food burger. For a sit down experience, ladies & gentlemen, it's all about The Squeeze-Inn, my new favorite BURGER (look out Nation's).

I'm scheming for a way to introduce our youth ministry to The Squeeze-Inn on a Friday night. The challenge is they close @ 8pm. Think they'd stay open late for us?






Here's the process - process is critical to the product.





The BBQ-Bacon-Cheeseburger at the Galt location is unbelievable. It's quite possibly the modern-day equivalent to Israeli manna in the wilderness.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Santa 'Clause'

Santa Claus was sighted on 2nd Avenue in Elk Grove today - a matinee appearance for this Merry season.



Much to the chagrin of one little girl who was sorely disappointed to learn of the truth, the Santa 'Clause' is that it really wasn't Santa Claus at all. Now, we don't instill the make-belief that Santa exists anyway, but it is good for children to grow-up with a sense of fantasy and wonder. Besides, it was an excuse to get together and a lot of fun. It's a lot more fun when you don't have to wait in a long line or plop your child in some perverted stranger's lap. Our 'Santa' was a 6-foot, 16 year old who is strong as an ox, can press more with his triceps than I can with my legs- and yet has a tender heart that delights in making little children genuinely happy. Accompanying 'Santa' was his little elf, the effervescent, loving, creative genius costumed in green, parallel candy-cane stripes.

At first Rori was a bit overwhelmed by the bearded man in the red velvet suit, sock feet and skateboard - but before the evening was over she had a ton of fun, as did we, with many of her friends and their parents.

Here's a quick clip of Rori brief Jingle Bells performance (Auntie Karla holding buddy Jack in background). Enjoy!


Thank you Auntie 'Kah-wuh' and Uncle 'Chad!' for hosting. We have such wonderful family and friends within our faith community.


Johannes, Boston, Tawni and London

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday Testimony

Intuitively, spiritual people know to judge people by their fruits (that which they produce), rather than by their suits (that which they put on). However, some of us are still working on our spirituality. Between the Church, Assembly and Fundraising I spend more time in a button-up shirt, suit and tie than not. Let me rephrase that-that is, time well spent in RDouglas custom suits and shirts. Needless to say, years of wear have caused me to become a haberdasher of sorts and I am very particular. For instance, today I transitioned nicely from the State Capitol to the Sanctuary without having to swap suits out or press my apparel. Given the fact that I was already tardy, this at least afforded me the opportunity to make it in time for the evening manna. Today, the steel grey, herringbone RDouglas was both complimentary and resilient through meetings, MaJong's and an incredible sermon. If you own one, this comes as no surprise. More and more are sharing similar testimonies of their own. Last Friday a well-known photographer friend put on his first RDouglas custom suit and described the experience. I told him I would blog his quote-he said, 'it felt like I was putting on pajamas.'
Whether for a first impression, last impression, interview, conference, wedding or wardrobe makeover, I recommend RDouglas custom suits and shirts. Visit www.rdouglas.net

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday in the Rear View Mirror

Today the Senate and Assembly swore in the newly-elected members of their respective legislative houses. Several morning hours preceding the scheduled ceremony start were spent securing the necessary access for Assemblyman Jeff Miller, his family, Capitol Staff and more than 40 VIP guests (including Pastor Young, Boston & London), many of whom travelled from Southern California to congratulate, support and share the day with him...



Office keys acquired, security badges brandished, chamber, gallery and committee tickets in tow, staff members situated, family members escorted, lunch purchased, event hosted, VIPs accommodated, lobbyists entertained, hors de horvres digested, hands-shaken, business cards swapped, stories told, pictures taken, networks expanded, history made-and apparently, Monday is officially over, in the books. An extremely successful day, by many accounts, that began at 6:45am is just now ending.



Marveling over the extraordinary flight of time does not redeem a single moment, but rather continues to squander the precious commodity of intangible measurement at an unrecoverable pace. However, if time is recycled into eternity, than there is a chance that even the most seemingly mundane tasks of our every day lives hold eternal value.

From one perspective, the sum total of today's politics do not appear very spiritual at all - but I have learned better than to judge the fertility of the soil, or productivity of a seed the same day it is planted. Usually, only weeds grow overnight. God put us where we are, and today, He ordered our steps again. In Him we live, we move, we breathe and have our being. Thus, I have no doubt that in due season we will reap the fruit of His harvest, if we faint not.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday is Simply Sunday Eve

Last night we got together with a few close friends of ours, Jason & Leah West and Sam & Moni Hassas, for our annual Thanksgiving dinner. This year instead of cooking we dined 'Family-Style' at Maggiano's in the beautiful city of San Jose. I finally fell asleep at 2am this morning after 9 hours of Italian food, constructive conversation and iron-sharpening, like only can be experienced between the best of friends. So, I justified sleeping in a little bit - it was still Saturday morning when I got up. In the interest of Christmas, and practicing the principle of it being 'better to give than to receive', my lovely wife and her precious grandparents made their missionary journey over to Valley Fair and Santana Row. Jason West wrapped up his meeting with the legendary blue bomber crew, and then we ate the biggest and best Philly Cheesesteak sandwich EVER! Later on, we met Crystal, LeSharon and Ben for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. It was a blast-we each ordered entrees and everyone shared everyone's food. It was a high-profile potluck. Some dude at the table next to us caught his dreadlock on fire and the manager came over keep things from getting too hairy. Quite humorous! After dessert and on the way home we met Assemblyman Jeff Miller and his sweet wife to gameplan a couple of events surrounding Monday morning's swearing in ceremony .

Anyhow, today was very productive on many fronts. All that in a day's work-Saturday. Yes, it's still Saturday, at least for another 23 minutes. I'm excited (to borrow Chad Adair's adjective). That means I get to wake up in a few hours, make my way to the house of God and once again participate in my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE day of the week, Sunday!

I can't wait for Sunday, especially tomorrow at The Rock Church. It's almost a child-like feeling I recall experiencing on Christmas Eve, unable to sleep in anticipation of waiting gifts. I suppose for me, Saturdays are simply 'Sunday Eve.' Who knows what God has for us in his 'presence', I may not sleep much tonight. A few Saturday nights ago I woke up at 3:15am and stayed awake until 6:45am, before heading to the church at 8am. Who cares, it's only sleep. Regardless of what we have going on, God is doing something(s) this season, and I don't want to be caught sleeping, so to speak.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy and Thankful!


Have you ever wondered, 'If I am thankful for someone, does that mean they are not thankful for themself?'
Probably not, but if you have, don't worry the turkey will be done in a few minutes and you'll have something to do with your spare time. While you're contemplative, think about this-'Happy' and 'Thanksgiving' belong together. Moreso, than 'Happy Birthday' I can assure you of that, haha! You can go through another year of life and not be happy, but try being full of thanks, giving thanks, and see if it's possible to keep a smile off of your face and cheer out of your heart. If you're already happy then you're ahead of the game. A happy person would find something or someone to be thankful for and a thankful person has every reason to be happy. This year, let's make up for all the unhappy and unthankful people in the world. Remember, the turkey and sides are just the whipped cream and cherry-it's those around you that make Thanksgiving Happy!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

JDE & TLE

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Four Day Reflection

Friday night TRGYC got a jump start on Thanksgiving. In the past our celebration has been contemporary, consisting of Kentucky Fried Chicken and even Popeyes. This year, we returned to tradition. More than 155 parents and young people crammed into the Fireplace where, after reflecting on God's goodness and singing a few songs, we served them turkey and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli-corn casserole, stuffing, bread rolls, iced tea and pumpkin pie. Super thank-you's to our awesome staff for pulling together, organizing, setting-up, serving and cleaning. 15 turkeys proved ample. Your crown is in Heaven, but for now, enjoy turkey sandwiches for the next semester on me!

Saturday morning a random assortment of guys from the church descended on Sheldon High School's football field for 'flag' football. We had a great time bonding with the brethren, locking horns, smack talking, flat-backing, picking each other up and tearing each other down. The only injuries sustained was that of our pride as we realized just how good we used to be, lol.
However, yours truly, with the support of four braces, managed 3 sacks, an interception and one pass deflected.
It was a defensive struggle that we lost 9-7 (a safety was the difference). Most importantly, attitudes were kept in check, friendships forged, and the guys did a great job concealing their aches and pains on Sunday. The previous day's physical activity didn't inhibit our worship in church Sunday morning or Sunday night.

Speaking of Sunday, WOW. Just buy the cd or dvd. Dr. Wilson preached 'Moving Towards the Anti-Christ.' By the sermon title you would never have predicted that service would end with just about every family huddled and praying together around the altar. Again, by the cd or dvd. Sunday night began with pre-prayer prayer, and over 100 men gathered for prayer 15 minutes before scheduled prayer time. The focused, fervent intercession continued until Pastor Young directed the men to continue praying, and to march right into the auditorium effectively opening service in an unprecedented and powerful manner.

This past week we celebrated the victory of recent negative x-rays and Doctors' reports clearing Bro. Jason Pontius of cancer. On the other hand, tonight, 125+ men rallied together specifically to pray for Bro. Danny Walker, and his family, who have not yet received their victory report. We are believing God for continuing to work and thank Him for answering prayers again!

We can't wait for tomorrow night-our annual 'Thanksgiving' service. It's a great family atmosphere among the community of faith. You never know exactly what to expect, but two things are anticipated. One is the spontaneous solicitation and selection by Bishop or Pastor of unsuspecting saints to testify give God public thanks (something big churches don't often get to enjoy). The other is the reading of our kindergarten Sunday School classes recipes on 'How to Cook A Turkey.' You can only imagine the testimonials. It's amazing how much 5 year olds observe at home in the kitchen during the Holidays while you assume they're off playing with the cousins- and just how well they can tell on Mommy and Daddy, haha! Of course, it's always funnier when it's someone else's child!


JDE

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Making Traditions

IT’s THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR, preparing for Thanksgiving, knowing Christmas is just around the corner. Don’t tell, but I already have Christmas music playing at home – oops we put it on the blog too so I guess the secret’s out. The holidays become even more exciting when there are small children around, they enjoy every ounce of the festivities (Rori says especially the CANDY). So what are some of your favorite family traditions? Here are some of ours:

We love to spend an evening together decorating the house for Christmas complete with a LIVE Christmas tree.


Every year we buy at least 1 new ornament for our tree (usually a few, but I’m trying to cut back, I promise). I love to decorate a tree full of different ornaments, they all have a special meaning (some from my childhood, a couple we bought on our honeymoon, one for our first Christmas together, Rori has several of her own 1st Christmas ornaments and many more). And every year since we’ve had our own house my Papa has bought a Krinkles figure for me to add to my decorating collection.


Once a year we host a small Christmas party for our close friends and enjoy an evening of desserts, coffee and friendship.

At my grandmother’s house we always read the Christmas story from the Bible and then sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and ate cake in His honor!

On Christmas morning there are stockings hung by the chimney with care, and full of goodies! When Rori was born we even tried to fit her in a stocking, but she wasn’t quite that little (if I can find the pic, I’ll post it on here).


This year Rori is old enough to start appreciating some other traditions, so I am looking for ideas we can implement in our household. I thought about an advent calendar with CHOCOLATE (one of her favorite treats), we will definitely begin our OWN reading of the Christmas story at home (if she hears it twice a year, then that’s an extra blessing) and since POPCORN makes a family (thank you for that lesson Sis. Wilson, and for teaching me how to make popcorn NOT in the microwave), I think we’ll start serving popcorn and hot cocoa while we decorate the house.

Happy Holidays and Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family!

TLE

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Under the weather but on top of the world

The Rock Group Youth Community. Enough can't be said about the young people we love so much and are privileged to pastor. I haven't been feeling well (under the weather but still on top of the world). Somehow, I managed to stumble across a few pictures and couldn't help but laugh out loud. Laughter is like medicine-how true it is! Someone said a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's the equivalent of 3,000 words.

DeAndre bored on the road while helping some of our young people move to Montana (those are real, formerly edible Gobstoppers in his nose!). Btw, we miss you Rachel, Luke & Austin!



A few of our class clowns who dressed down for our recent Rocktoberfest Party, haha.


TRGYC young people responding during REUNION youth service; uploading and downloading with God around the altar.


The last picture didn't make me laugh, it made me smile. Thank God for young people who put Christ first in their lives and tell others about Him. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but already we are thankful for the many things God has done and is in the process of doing in the lives of our youth community.

JDE


Monday, November 17, 2008

What do Carman, Clint Brown and Bebe Winans have in common? They all liked the song 'I Don't Know What You Came To Do' (written by my Pastor C. Myles Young), so much that they've recorded it on their own albums (on Bebe's latest album). Carman, Clint, and now Bebe? Case closed, it just doesn't get any better. If you want good 'church' music, look up the Holy Ghost filled Pentecostals.

If you or your family are looking for a home church in the greater Sacramento area, with timeless music and anointed utterance, we invite you to look no further. Welcome home to The Rock Church


JDE

First Day in Sunday School















So you know Rori is two now. Three more years before we make the final crossing over into kindergarten. Christian, Montessori, home-school, private or charter? It is unfortunate that here in CA, our public school option will be the last resort. Fortunately, her education has already begun. We're doing everything in our power to get a jump start on 'training our child up in the way she should go', so that 'when she is old she will not depart from it.'  Now that Rori is two, she has started attending Sunday School at The Rock Church. Here's a pic of her (with her new 'dolly') from her very first day! TRC Sunday School teachers are the absolute best. 


JDE/TLE

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two candles


After spending a few hours at the church, we'll spend the rest of the day before our youth service tonight with our little girl. Today is a very sentimental day-HAPPY BIRTHDAY RORI!!! Ok, so Rori isn't going to read this blog anytime soon-she'll just look at the computer monitor, point at our family header pic and repeat, "Mommy, Daddy, Rori!' So why the post?

Well, because it is an opportunity to once again publicly give thanks to God and to all of our family and friends who hung in there with us on this a very memorable day for our family. Two years ago at 4:15am Tawni, at 7 months pregnant, suffered a sudden onset of ecclampsia and toxemia, and fell out of bed with a seizure that nearly claimed her life and that of our little miracle. Thank God for prayer, and for quick paramedic response too.

To make a long, very personal story somewhat shorter, after an emergency procedure with a 2-minute time differential between failure and success, Tawni survived and our beautiful, little trooper was born at just 2lbs. 14 oz. One of the many miracles to take place during the 45 days Rori had to remain in the NICU was the healing of a small hole in her heart, and a great big one in ours. Rori's first church service was our church's first service in our new building- she was dedicated a few months later and has arguably been one of the church's mascots ever since!

Thank you Jesus for letting us borrow your little girl-and Happy, Happy 2nd Birthday Rori Lane!

JDE

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This Little Light of Mine


This is Rori Lane, our little princess - otherwise affectionately known as our little 'Rori Lane, sugar-cane, candy-rain, punkie-noodle, snickerdoodle, cutie-pumpkin pie!' at a recent harvest play date with a bunch of her friends at a local pumpkin patch.
She is a bright spot to say the least, and she lights up our lives with her personality.
She spent last night with her Nary & Pippi. This morning we got a text that that melted our hearts. Another ray of Son-light parted the clouds and we wanted to share. Out of the blue Rori started singing a song we taught her (but haven't sung in at least a week or so),
'Word, whateber yer doin' in dith season, don' doit wifout me...'
Out of the mouth of babes, He has perfected praise. Lord, help us to have the requisite, child-like faith that our voluntary song and prayer would also be, 'Lord, whatever You're doing, in this season, don't do it without me.'


JDE

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Light of the Election

In the last week I read a couple of articles-the headlines of which particularly raptured my attention. One of them revealed 'Republicans Ponder Path to Renewal' while another admitted 'GOP Does Soul Searching.' Commentators have suggested that the Republican party 're-brand' for the current market.

I couldn't disagree with that proposition more. It is time for the Republican base to rally, repair their image and restore conservativism (fiscal and social) as the party platform.

In a losing effort, it was a shame that one campaign had to resort to gimmickry, in order to create a buzz that was absent for the ticket from the beginning. What was missing?

We never saw the Maverick. We saw a docile doe negotiating with a political predator. Why were we surprised with the outcome? Afterall, there are no jackelopes in politics. You are, or you aren't-you can't be both.

Our country wants change (definition not a requirement), and they've received what they've asked for. We'll see how satisfied they are once that change is finally defined. Needs and wants are different however, and the last thing our country needs is compromise; especially when it concerns language, border, culture. That might sound Savage, but it's not.

This isn't a pulpit, it's a post-but I can't help point out the same is true and can be said of the Church. There is a definite place for pondering paths of renewal and soul searching (individually & corporately), but the Church is not in trouble. The church does not need a new label. Tough times require strong resolve-and this is no time for compromise.

As the Church, you are or you aren't, you are either in or you are out - you can't be both, and believe it or not, the world doesn't want you to be.

PS) If you're worried about 'relevance', cease. Truth is always relevant.

JDE

Monday, November 10, 2008

First Light

Light was first spoken into existence. From the beginning it has traveled with incredible speed. Light exposed cannot be covered. Light separates by illumination.  Understanding this, it is not hard to reconcile Christ's declaration, 'we are the light of the world' with His rhetorical concern, 'what fellowship does light have with darkness?' 

Revelation is the art of the Spirit. Light always confronts darkness, creating natural separation as a result of illumination. This process is not ugly, it is enlightened. 

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord - we are the light of the world. Before you flip the breaker and resort to pushing buttons, turning switches or 'plugging-in' various outlets, remember that creative light was first spoken into existence. His Word is a lamp to guide our steps and light to illuminate our path. So, walk the straight and narrow speaking light. Listen and be amazed at how fast your faith and hope will travel, and watch what the truth, spoken in love, will accomplish.


JDE