Sunday, February 26, 2012

Birthdays and Sundays

Evan and Crystal got together and planned a Saturday evening dinner for Sondra's birthday last night.  We went to a little steak place called the Cucamonga Brewing Co.  The location used to be the home of Omaha Jack's Steak House, but it's gone now.  Anyway, it was a fun time of all of us being together -- Evan and Callie, Shawn and Crystal and Bailey and Brynnlee!

After eating at the restaurant, we went over to Shawn and Crystal's house for birthday cake and the opening of gifts.  In addition to wathcing Sondra opening her birthday presents, Evan then showed some pictures from his trip to Hawaii, on the island of Maui.

Evan just returned from Hawaii this past Wednesday night (actually Thursday morning early by the time they drove back in from LAX).  Callie's family (dad and mom, grandmother and grandmother's sister, Callie's brother and wife, Callie's sister and friend) celebrated a week in Maui at a rented house on the beach.  Evan was invited to go as well.  It was Callie's dad's birthday that week.  Evan came back with a tan and good memories.  There are some more pictures from the week, but here are a couple of photos that Evan took with his cell phone camera.

Today was a great day at church.  We had three baptisms, all three being men with an addiction history now working at Coronado Stone and attending our church.   It was a time of spontaneous eruption of clapping, shouting and joy when the last of the three came up out of the baptismal waters!  I had a man who works at Coronado Stone (Michael Geiger) lead the Praise & Worship time, as I wanted to use all Coronado individuals in the worship hour.  Our guest speaker for the day was Pastor Michael Dotson, a man who came out of our church to start a new Vision Plus Church in Bakersfield.  Michael Dotson was previously a Coronado employee and part of the Sober Living Program there, who has now gone on to get his life on track serving the Lord.

This afternoon, I sat with two individuals (Gail Anderson and Jack Shelton) at lunch to talk about their upcoming wedding in our church on Sunday, March 25, immediately following the morning worship hour.  It will be a special day, indeed!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sondra's Birthday

Much has happened since my last blog.

Yesterday was Sondra's birthday (February 22).  She worked until noon at her Intervention Teaching job here in the Rialto school district.  She enjoys the children and their responsiveness to her teaching.  We then drove down to Oceanside (30 miles north of San Diego).  Bill and Marti were there at a Wyndham timeshare apartment/condo, one overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Kirk, Tamra and little Ezekiel were there for a few days as well.

We wanted to hear about Bill and Marti's trip to Tahiti and cruise to Hawaii, so that was fun to sit around and catch up on their journeys, as they had just flown in late this past Monday night.  And, of course, Ezekiel is such a cute baby who loves to smile.  Kirk and Tamra are wonderful parents.

Sondra talked them into coming to dinner with us.  She thought it would be special to have some "family time" as we ate and celebrated the evening of her birthday.  It was so enjoyable.  We went to Anthony's Seafood Grotto restaurant and got a table by the window so we could see all the boats and the sunset and then the shimmering lights off the water as it got dark outside.

This last week and a half has been fun.  In fact, last week I went through some old movie films I had taken with our old Super 8mm camera in the 1970s.  I found 10 small reels that were of Jason, Evan and Crystal in 1979 and 1980.  Jason was five, Evan three and Crystal about one year old.  I took those to Costco and am having them spliced together to make a DVD.  My 8mm films also had sound (new for that time, just before VHS movie cameras).  Anyway, we are excited to see them in about four weeks when they come back.  I have many more reels to go through, but not enough money to get them all made into DVDs yet.....ha ha.

Last week I bought some flowers for Sondra on Valentine's Day and we went to dinner that night.  We enjoy those special times.  That morning, I spoke at Coronado Stone's morning devotional time.

I had planned on attending the Disaster Relief Training for pastors last Thursday through Saturday, but it didn't work out.  I had an appointment at VA early Friday morning, and we went over to California Baptist University for homecoming Saturday.  A friend I have known for 46 years (Ron Bryant) was there, and we got together with him and his fiance Nicole.  We ended up going out to eat at the Yardhouse there in Riverside.  It was a wonderful time of conversation, being with a long-time friend!  Ron and Nicole are planning to get married on 02-14-2014 (Valentine's Day in 2014).  I have been asked to officiate, so I am looking forward to that.

On Sunday morning, I preached on evangelism and the joy of sharing our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  On Monday morning, George Nelson and I drove over to Torrance (near Long Beach and Los Angeles) for a two-day Evangelism Conference.  It was an inspiring couple of days, listening to various preachers and pastors from around the nation.  Pastor Roy Flint, a volunteer staff member at our Vision Plus Church, drove over and joined us for both days also.  It was cute to see Kirk at the conference with his son, Ezekiel, in tow.

One of the special moments for me was spending some time with Pastor Abel Galvan.  Abel served with me as a Youth Director in 29 Palms, when he was still a student at Cal Baptist.  When I was called to pastor in San Diego, Abel came there also and worked with the youth.  When I left San Diego, Abel was called as Interim Pastor and followed God's call into the ministry full-time.  Abel "blames" me for his call to ministry, as I helped him grow and learn what it meant to follow in vocational ministry to the Lord's call.  His pastor from childhood, Ken Reed, was at this conference.  Pastor Reed baptized him as a 13-year old.  He got us together for a picture, as he wanted a photo of himself with the two men who had influenced him the most for the Kingdom's sake.  It was very humbling and a time of great joy.

Well, I must go as I have blood lab tests at the VA this morning.  Tomorrow, I see my primary doctor for my 6-month checkup.

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's Raining Today

Yes, it is raining hard today.  That may not sound like a big deal, but we are well below our annual rainfall total for the year.  I like the rain and its soothing patter on the house.  It is a little colder than usual also.

Last week, our church took a trip to Hollywood for the taping of "The Price Is Right" show at the CBS studios.  There were 14 of us that went.  It was an all-day affair, as we left the church parking lot about 9:30 am and got home around 11 pm.  We stood in line, we waited patiently to get in the queue for the show, we were interviewed as possible contestants, we enjoyed the show and stopped to eat at Chili's restaurant on the way home.  It was an awesome day of friendship and fellowship.  None of were chosen as contestants, but it was a great day to spend together.

Last Wednesday, I led a Bible study on Elijah from the book of 1st Kings.  It shows Elijah in a state of sadness and dejection and near depression.  Even people of God struggle with emotions and feelings and moods at times.  Elijah felt this even at a time of great victory over the prophets of Baal.  When Queen Jezebel called for his life, he felt somewhat hopeless.  He had excessive fear.  He felt overwhelmed by problems and tried to run and escape.  He was tired and weary.  He called for God to take his life, where some even feel he had suicidal thoughts.  He held feelings of total rejection.

God's call to Elijah brought healing to his spirit.  In 1st Kings 19, God called Elijah to:
     (1)  Rest.  Our bodies need physical rest.
     (2)  Nourishment.  Our bodies require proper nutrition.
     (3)  Worship.  We need personal and intimate time with God.
     (4)  Search within.  We must examine ourselves and say, "What is the real problem?"
     (5)  Trust God.  We must address the faith issue within and obey God's instructions.
     (6)  Repent.  We must turn from wrong thinking, allowing God to correct our thoughts.
     (7)  Be courageous.  We must fight the spiritual battles with boldness, convinced of God's victory!

On Sunday, my message was about "True Love," as we are approaching Valentine's Day and the topic of love.  When we cannot adequately define love or even describe love, we must demonstrate love.

Love is demonstrated...
     1.  ...through unwavering commitment.
     2.  ...through undying patience.
     3.  ...through unfailing sacrifice.

Today is a holiday of sorts (Lincoln's Birthday), where banks and schools and government agencies are closed.  So, Sondra does not work today.  She has been quite sick these last few days with a deep cold - congestion and cough.  We will just take it easy today and rest.

As I looked at the calendar this past week, I was reminded of an "anniversary" of sorts.  On February 8, 2009, I suffered a heart attack and then had triple-bypass heart surgery.  Wow, three years have gone by quickly.  I am doing well these days.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Busy With Life

Last week was full of trying to get things sorted out -- old photos, scrapbooks, pictures albums, writings and such.  It is a never-ending process.

Shawn and Crystal began the move from their house in Ontario to another house in Fontana over the weekend.  The Fontana house is a little bigger, as it has three bedrooms.  The trouble was, Shawn hurt his right elbow after a freak accident climbing down onto a ladder in the garage.  Wednesday evening, Crystal took him to ER for stitches (actually staples) to fix a bleeding wound from the fall.  They took X-rays and there were no broken bones.

However, Friday night Shawn was back at the hospital as some infection had set in.  They gave him antibiotics and he will be fine.  It just made it a little more painful as they rented a truck to move all day Saturday, with help from a few friends.  Sondra and I took care of Bailey and Brynnlee overnight Friday, so that Crystal and Shawn could finish packing and get everything set for the move on Saturday.

Since yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday, I preached on what it takes to be a fanatic, which is a person who shows excessive enthusiasm and undying devotion to a team.  I used this as a basis and framework for being a "fan," a fanatic, for Jesus.  The seven principles for being a fanatic are:

1.  Pick a team.  We choose to be on the Lord's side.  To not choose Jesus is to choose the opposition!
2.  Be verbal in your support at every opportunity.  Have a ready testimony.  Be not embarrassed to be a Christian!
3.  Attend and cheer.  Be at church to worship, study the Bible, have fellowship and praise God!
4.  Show support financially.  We give to those things in our life that have highest priority.  Let's give to the Lord!
5.  Get involved where needed.  Anywhere - church cleaning/repairs, lawn maintenance, nursery care, visitation!
6.  Be passionate.  You will find passion when the things of the Lord consume you!
7.  Stay loyal.  Be faithful every day, be faithful in  the face of opposition, be faithful to the end!