Monday, August 31, 2009

Ode to the Builder

Several months ago I was present when the following language sculpture was unveiled in the form of poetic supplement to an already masterful sermon, during an anniversary service. Alas, my hands have come upon this coveted piece - but I will share, for to conceal, in this case, would be the act of thievery. To all who build, in the natural and in the spirit...

“Ode to the Builder” by our Bishop, Dr. Nathaniel J. Wilson

The mind a thousand patterns, may devise or store, genius flit,
Creative wit, brilliant thought , made to fit
And yet, unmoving, still they sit, in abstract realm of hope alone
With freedom wish, no self, no ‘own.’

Tho’t’s of beauty, seem so free, escape they seek, reality,
For something/nothing, at once they be,
Caught in yon and distant sphere
Not quite there, not quite here,

Stored forever swirling, swirling,
Only tho’ts – twirling . . .twirling,
Never knowing being,
Flitting, fleeing….

Liquid, shapeless, hard to see
This realm of ‘possibility’
Without form, void, unsized,
Forever nothing actualized.

Can ‘potential’ now at last,
By intrepid soul be grasped
And with ‘action’ firm be cast

From flighty wave of tho’t as foam
Into the dark uncharted loam
And there beneath earth’s heavy curtain
Abide alone, in angst, uncertain,

Where there it human will doth meet
And join it in courageous feat
Where ‘chance’ is grasped with all he’s got
To pull it from the world of tho’t

And add to her abstract elixir
A dash of action as his mixer.

ACTING! ACTING! while others quail
Declaring reasons such will fail
He peers far down in deep crevasse
Of great, may fatal, loss

Risking….Risking…,
Yea, some explain,
Even gambling, for great gain,
Could they be right? Is he sane?
Can one from tho’t create again?

He leaps into the roiling whirl
And grips great thot’s within the swirl
With dash, n’ deftness, courage bold
He grips those thot’s and starts to mold

He breaks the line ‘tween tho’t & deed,
He acts with courage, does indeed,
One for the other there is need,
He also knows that one must lead,
To break the line ‘tween tho’t & deed

Elements raw, unbent, proud,
Declaring tho’ts but airy cloud
Declare that ‘change is not allowed’

But cloud-like tho’ts & elements raw
Both acquiesce to hammer and saw,
When Builders with acts like God
From tho’ts alone bring structures tall,

Out of nothing they do birth,
Dominion & “Thy will on earth.”

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thankful for the Expected Unexpected



I'm grateful, I'm thankful. God is doing so much all around us. Sure, the unexpected summer rain may soak through and send your proverbial linen suit to the cleaners prematurely, but it also purifies the atmosphere and quenches the thirst of all things planted. I have learned that like seasons of unpredictable precipitation are not meant to dampen our faith, but to make possible deep, cleansing breaths of fresh air, and the beauty of an abundant, ripe harvest of flowering fruit.

During our REUNION youth service Friday night I couldn't help but notice such Spirit produce and breathe a healthy sigh of relief. Between last Sunday, and this Friday I've had a number of conversations and received multiple emails; young people and parents thanking our team for our diligence in facilitating faith community, others wanting to create multi-media promotions for our youth ministry, another inquiring about joining our youth music department, and even one email volunteering apologetically why they would not be able to attend. That was fruit. During Friday night's service a particular young person sang lead to a song for the very first time. A short time ago, who would've thought...? That was fruit. I noticed several young people who could've taken an advantage of parents being out of town to fill the final Friday night of August with carefree fun, but instead chose the commitment and responsibility of local youth ministry. That is fruit. A friend of mine, a few years younger than I ministered to us. He broke the Bread of life, God spoke and we responded. 114 young people on their hands, knees and faces, building their own altars at the front of our youth chapel- that was fruit. I couldn't help but think to myself and comment to my wife later just how blessed we are here at The Rock Church, within our own youth community to have young men and women who are so radically committed to the Word and His work - who are called, anointed and capable; teachers and preachers already in their own right, but submitted to leadership, having teachable spirits, and the heart of a Servant.

When unexpected weather arrives the temptation is to entangle oneself in the evil forecast of whatever everyone else is saying and or doing. In these moments of uncertainty, speculation, hear say or hypothesis it's easy to miss the opportunities and revelations that the sudden season, hour, or moment was intended to create. The rain should drive us inward, into the shelter of the Strong Tower, the fog should further ground us in His Word where we belong, and the scorching heat of the day should force us beneath the shadow of the Almighty.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

SUMMERMANIA: thanks & pics

Again, thank you to everyone who worked hard to make it happen and who attended (from Redding to the Bay Area, to Bakersfield) to make our work worthwhile. In addition to blessing our local youth ministry with the means to make some key purchases, your attendance and participation is making it possible for us to support national pastors for up to an entire year in Africa, Mexico and South America! Here are few pics from SUMMERMANIA, our all night outdoor event. We'll see you back for an even better 2010!

Softball beneath the lights, with the beautiful Rock Church in the background.



Chick-fil-a registration booth, Spinning Wheel & Mascot



One of our guests chicken sandwiches (included w/ admission) - this one was Left Behind



Volleyball



Live GameShow Stage featuring more than $400 in Starbucks, Best Buy & iTunes gift cards (including an iPod Touch)



Hangin' out









Playin video games



The DJ - 'Brutha Aubrey Robinson, Sr.'



All that was left of the breakfast bar by 8am



My pictures of the paintball field didn't come out - we'll grab some from someone else and post.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lover of Cheeses



I love cheese.

American, the pride of patriots between the patties of an In-n-Out double-double.
Cheddar, skirting one of Becky Salter's homemade grilled cheese sandwiches - or the flavor of Cheezits!
Bleu, the perfect crumbled accompaniment for a Cobb salad - or as the complimentary accoutrement, or 'dressing' for chicken wings.
Monterey Jack, melting jealously over milanesa!
Cream, stuffing breaded jalapenos or decorating steamed brocoli.
Swiss, the holiest (as in holey) of all, made to entice mice & hover over roast beef.
Brie, for whom crackers are merely a means of conveyance from port to portal.

Cheese makes me laugh. There's nothing like a good, 'cheesey' joke - especially after a long day or late night, with family or friends. Seems like some Pastor's have a proclivity for it - these jokes are only funny to some. I call it PhD; a degree of pastoral humor.

Cheese makes me smile, because it makes me think of Rori's smile - and the countless times our 2-year old princess has prefaced camera clicks with her cheery 'Cheethse!'

It also takes me back to my early childhood, around an Apostolic altar after preaching and a Pentecostal, home missions church service. Other children near me were praying also, but there is one particular sight and sound I will never forget. With hands lifted high and eyes closed so tight that they quenched the thirst of the carpet below, one of the children repeated 'I love you Jesus' over and over and over.

Only, with her accent, it sounded like she was saying, 'I love you Cheeses!' I've chuckled about it years later, but as children we only recognized the sincerity. We all heard and knew what she meant, and so did He.

For all of the obvious reasons, and more, I am an avowed lover of cheeses.

Monday, August 17, 2009

MOVING PICTURES from PEAK 09!

A Chrisian blue-grass group sings a song that include the lyrics, 'if that don't make ya wanna go t'Heaven - I don' knowwwww what does!' Well, if these here movin' pictures don't make ya wanna go t' PEAK next year...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyjEqc6XCMY
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

SUMMERMANIA - this Friday night!

This Friday night we're going to be up all night for TRGYC's SUMMERMANIA, an all night outdoor fundraiser event featuring fun and fellowship for Apostolic young people across Northern California. A portion of the proceeds ($25 entry fee) will go to sponsor national pastors and native missionaries in Mexico, South America & Africa for one whole year!

After a Chick-fil-a dinner and appearance by the 'Chick-fil-a Cow', activities will include a Paintball Tournament, live game shows, $400 in giveaways (including an iPod Touch), Inflatable Jousting, Pillow 'Fights', Obstacle Course, Basketball tournament & contests, Volleyball, Christian DJ & Karaoke, Video/Board Game Room, Lounge Area, Artist's Palette (live painting), Photo Booth, Neck/Bow Tie Swap Shop - and incredible Coffee, Fruit, Pastry & Cereal Bar.

Needless to say, our awesome TRGYC staff will be up all night with us. Naturally, Rockstars tends to be the localenergy drink of choice here at The Rock Church, but I was curious which energy drinks provides the most energy, in your opinion. Let us know!

Come on out and join us for some fun - and help sponsor local youth ministry, and missions work around the world!
For more info email: youthpastor@therockgrouplive.com or call (916) 689-ROCK







Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Presents

I love Fridays. Fridays make the corners of my mouth flirt with my earlobes. Fridays give me the heart of a child - one that persistently knocks on the door of my chest cavity, begging for all inside of me to come out and frolic for the duration of another summer day. I love Fridays. My work day week begins on Friday nights. Someone said 'if it's something you love to do it isn't work' - and if that is true, then my work is not, unless it is - in the sense of that which is produced, or in the process of becoming. I love Fridays. Fridays are about KINGDOM NOW. Fridays are about 'the already not yet.' Fridays are about the 'never old ever new.' Fridays are about giving every young person every possible opportunity to make Heaven. Fridays are about eliminating every conceivable excuse for accepting the cheap substitute Satan wants to slip each young person, in exchange for an eternity of peace, hope and love.

To every young person, to every parent, to our Pastoral leadership, and to our TRGYC staff who help make this day what it is, THANK YOU. To the only wise God, our Savior be glory, majesty, dominion and power - now and forever. Thank you.

Love - Johannes & Tawni (&Rori Lane too)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Creative Genius of Genesis




I had a wonderful conversation with a few friends at Wingstop after church service last night. By the way, you can add 5 wings to an order of 10 (to make 15, a happy medium between 10 and 20), for an additional $2.99. During the warm exchange one of my brothers replied, 'Im just a baby - I was baptized 5 years ago.' To which I assured my comrade that we all too are babes in Christ.

This fact is profoundly reinforced every time I peer into the timeless - the words of life and works of Christ that John said all the libraries in the world could not contain.

Take for instance, the beginning. Read the first two chapters of Genesis, the first book in the Bible - an account of the Six Days of Creation.

The continuous, repeating threads carefully and consistently woven by Holy inspiration throughout the Bible amaze me again, and again. Every incredible layer is a reminder of just how elementary my childlike understanding is - and a welcoming invitation for further exploration at the same time.

After looking closely at each creative 'day', I closed my eyes and allowed the Spirit to settle the sediment and sort the sentiment of my immediate interpretation, and all too quick life application.

In the beginning, the Word spoke and created a formless planet, suspended in the dark void of space. The Word of God spoke, and created light. Then, the Word separated light from the darkness. Throughout each of the creative days succeeding the first, the spoken Word performs and completes a powerful, meticulous, purposeful pattern. Astonishingly, that pattern is: 1) creation, and 2) separation by distinction.

I am a testimony, as you too are, or can be, that after thousands of years, the Word of God still speaks life into existence. The anthropomorphic fingerprints of the Word of God still appear to touch humanity, to shape our minds and to build our bodies in a manner that resembles His likeness. The Word of God still breathes into the souls of humanity. The breathing Word, now in us, still desires to speak things into existence, to create - and to separate, for His purpose and for His glory.

Like David, when I consider the Heavens, and the works of thy fingers and all thy hands have made, oh God - what is man (who am I) that thou art mindful of him (me), and the son of man that thou visiteth him (me)? Make me in your image. Word of God speak, create and separate in my life as you see necessary.

The Ever New Never Old

Out with the only new, in with the never old. The new old is the old new.
Famous. Brand Name. Monogram. Authentic. Original. Genuine.
Classic. 1 of 1. Unlimited. Universal. Pre-washed separately. One size fits all.
Cross blended material. Permanently stained. Layers well.
Weathered. Matches all colors. Wears best bold, plain.
To be worn inside-out at all times. 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another Book of Numbers

In another book of numbers there are a couple of stories, both of which you may have heard before. Nonetheless, I will share them again - because some stories are worth telling and retelling.

The first story took place many years ago when an evangelist held a revival in a little known Louisiana town. After two weeks without anyone receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost, the host Pastor and his apostolic guest agreed they would close the series of special services, and count the few, quantifiable blessings seen as but a seed that had been sewn. On that final Sunday, at the conclusion of the message, a young lad sauntered down the center aisle with his pant legs pegged just above the socks and a slingshot prominently displayed, yet precariously positioned, teetering from a back jeans pocket. That little boy received the baptism of the Holy Ghost just like they did on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts, and like millions still do today, evidenced by speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance.

A few years back a preacher peered out across a Texas conference crowd and picked out an old, faintly familiar face.
Inquisitively, the speaker navigated his sermon thought to to syncopate with his footsteps until both led him out from behind the pulpit in close proximity to the pew where the one who captured his attention now sat. Quickly, the man of God asked the elderly lady if she was who he thought she might be. When she confirmed, he personally escorted her to the platform and publicly interviewed her. The interview went something like this:
Preacher: Are you 'so and so.'
Elderly Lady: 'I am.'
Preacher: Did you ever preach a revival in Kerman, CA.
Elderly Lady: Yes, I did.
Preacher: Do you remember that revival?
Elderly Lady: Ohh yes, I do - I was sorely disappointed. After several weeks of prayer, fasting & preaching, I only remember one little boy receiving the Holy Ghost.
Preacher: Ma'am, it's been almost 50 years now - but your conference preacher tonight is that one little boy!

In the first story, the little boy who walked out of the imaginary Norman Rockwell painting was none other then Reverend J.T. Pugh. In the second story, the little boy and conference preacher from Kerman is none other than Bishop Nathaniel J. Wilson. If the respective host Pastors and Evangelists could have only known the impact they were actually having on the Apostolic movement - who knows just how many thousands of people (sinners, saints, preachers & leaders alike) have crossed paths with and had their lives forever impacted by the ministry of one or both of these two great men of God?

So, be careful how you gauge revival, how you measure ministry success, how much emphasis you put on numbers now. The world began with two, Noah had eight, and Jesus started again with twelve. Our global population is somewhere over 6 billion now and who knows how many million have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. While we must never be satisfied, we cannot discount, minimize or despise the day of small things!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tied to the Kingdom

Getting ready the other day, I killed two birds with one stone (ooh, is that politically correct to say?) and put together a quick pictorial 'how-to' tie a bow tie.

Step 1. Begin by wrapping bow tie around neck, leaving RIGHT end a little longer


Step 2. Cross the longer RIGHT end over the LEFT end


Step 3. Take the RIGHT end (now near your left shoulder) up under LEFT side and pull both ends tight


Step 4. Take the LEFT end (hanging straight down) and fold like this (with folded edge facing out towards your LEFT side)


Step 5. Take the RIGHT end from off your shoulder and drape down the middle of first fold made with LEFT end


Step 6. Fold RIGHT end (now draped down middle) up, under & behind the first fold made with LEFT end - and push the RIGHT end through the natural loop behind the bow itself (pushing the fold of the 2nd half of the bow towards your RIGHT shoulder, so that the 'end' remains facing outward, towards your LEFT shoulder)


Step 7. Grab the folded end of the front bow with your left hand, and the folded end of the back bow with your right hand; pull both ends at the same time to tighten, then adjust as necessary.


A version of what should be a slightly imperfect finished product.