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!



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!


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!


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.


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


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. 


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!


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.'


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.


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.