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). '


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 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

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.