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March 2007

Posts from February 2007

Looking Ahead

Bubba_gump_shrimper_s_net_catchI'm really looking forward to a few things at Harvest.

Stan Toler Seminar: We are going to California Christian College in Fresno this Saturday morning to hear Dr. Stan Toler speak on 'Teaching to Influence Lives". This will be a great EQUIPPING time for our teachers and others who make the trip with us.

New Sermon Series: I'm beginning a new sermon series this Sunday, 'Tell The World". The emphasis for my messages in March will be EVANGELISM. Who do you know that needs Christ? This week we will begin by starting a prayer list for friends and family that we want to see saved in the upcoming months. God answers prayer!

Denim Sunday: March 25th is going to be a great Sunday at Harvest. We are asking God for a record attendance. Begin praying for your unsaved family and friends to be here that day. Our EVANGELISM goal is to reach 100 people in 2007. Who do you know that can be 1 of 100?

Harvest Cruise: I can't wait! It's driving me crazy. I'm looking for a new Hawaiian shirt for the trip. It is a blast to spend a week with so many good people. Cliff Donoho, pastor at Rejoice Church in Nashville, will be our chapel speaker and he is off the hook! If you would like a great devotional in your email every morning drop him an email and request to be included on his list.

Family Retreat 2008: We are looking at setting up a trip to Nashville Tennessee in 2008. This would be a joint retreat with the Rejoice Church. Cliff Donoho will be setting up some of the best speakers available for our chapel times. A day touring some of our Free Will Baptist ministries in the area, a day at OpryLand, catch a show or two, a trip to Graceland. The possibilities are endless. I'll keep everyone informed as this develops.

Today, I'm off to Bubba Gump's with Kayla, Cora, Jared, and Noah. This is our Pastor's Honor Roll trip for the first semester at American Canyon Christian Academy.  Rewarding EXCELLENCE is so exciting and these students are indeed EXCELLENT! I don't even need to look at a menu...Boat Trash is my order. It's a tough job!.

Chill Out!

Taz I have been dealing with some personal issues recently. Yes, pastors have personal issues too! Years ago I started a devotional habit of reading one chapter of Proverbs every day. I read the chapter that matches the calendar date. It always amazes me how God reveals new thoughts to me each time I read through a chapter. This past Monday, the 19th, I ran across a verse that almost reached out and slapped me.

People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs. (Proverbs 19:11)

The Mike Trimble Authorized Version reads like this... "CHILL OUT!"

I want to be considered a person with "good sense". God tells us that one of the marks of a person with "good sense" is the ability to restrain or control our anger. It's not always easy to do but it is definitely worth the effort. Have you ever been around someone when they really "lost it"? The smartest person can look so silly when they lose their temper. The truth is we are usually on the losing end of things when we get to the place where we lose our tempers. This is an important lesson from HUSBAND 101, "The wife may be wrong but that is forgotten as soon as the husband loses his temper". People with good sense restrain their anger.

Esteem is very important! Esteem is glory. It is ornamental. It is how people see you. I want people to look at me with respect and honor. It's interesting to note from the above passage that esteem is earned.  It is earned when we are able to overlook wrongs. There have been issues that I know I was right on, but I also knew that I would lose people's respect by making a 'big deal' out of the issue. Some things just aren't worth getting all worked up about. This is a very important leadership lesson!

I was think about an old country song by Bobby Bare, The Winner. Here's a portion of the lyrics, sad but true...

I'm gonna tell you just a little bout what it means to be a winner
He said now you see these bright white smilin' teeth you know they ain't my own
Mine rolled away like Chicklets down the street in San Antone
But I left that person cursin' nursin' seven broken bones
And he only broke ah three of mine that makes me the winner
He said now behind this grin I got a steel pin that holds my jaw in place
A trophy of my most successful motorcycle race
And each morning when I wake and touch this scar across my face
It reminds me of all I got by bein' a winner
Now this broken back was the dyin' act of a handsome Harry Clay
That sticky Cincinnati night I stole his wife away
But that woman she gets uglier and she gets meaner every day
But I got her boy that's what makes me a winner
He said you gotta speak loud when you challenge me son cause it's hard for me to hear
With this twisted neck and these migraine pains and this big ole cauliflower ear
And if it wadn't for this glass eye of mine why I'd shed a happy tear
To think of all that you gonna get by bein' a winner
I got arthritic elbows boy I got dislocated knees
From pickin' fights with thunderstorms and chargin' into trees
And my nose been broke so often I might lose if I sneeze
And son you say you still wanna be a winner

Isn't is sad that sometimes we are so bent on being the winner that we don't even consider what it costs us. I think I'm gonna keep working on restraining anger and overlooking wrongs. I don't need to explode every time I get angry and I don't always have to right every wrong.


Photography Day

2007_sf_photowalk_002I had a great time walking around yesterday with renowned San Francisco photographer Thomas Hawk. I learned so much from just watching him shoot. He was very friendly and relaxed. I'm sure I asked a thousand questions during our time together.

This church clock tower overlooked an old red-light district in China Town. Powerful message for the city even today! I also saw a beautiful Chinese Baptist Church that had a 'Do Not Enter' 'One Way' street sign right in front of their door. If I was the pastor I think I would have a collection of those signs sitting in my garage at home. :)

I'm really looking forward to our Annual Men's Retreat this weekend. Cliff Donoho, from Nashville, is our speaker for the retreat. This guy is one of the 'funnest' preachers to listen to. He always delivers a powerful message.

In-N-Out Burgers

Innoutb_1I had to take one for the team yesterday. Sacrifice. Do something I really don't like doing for the good of the whole church. I had to do a little field research. I went to In-N-Out for lunch. It was just awful ( :) )but I love you guys so much I was willing to do this for you. Do you feel bad for me?

I guess you can find lessons anywhere. I started thinking about how we do church. Are we having fun? We should be. Even when things are crazy busy we should be enjoying what we do. I hope that when people walk into Harvest to satisfy a spiritual hunger they are greeted with a bunch of smiles and good spirits. I hope we are as inviting and friendly as this In-N-Out crew was. People should leave our church and be impressed with what a happy group of people we are.

I'm sure that the crew at In-N-Out all have issues in life that they are dealing with. They probably have stress like everyone else. They're probably worn out and ready for a vacation just like a lot of people. They seem to have found a way to leave their 'stuff' at the time clock though and go out and just serve others with a smile. If they are able to do this, surely we can leave our 'stuff' in the arms of God and go out there and serve others.

I also noticed the teamwork involved in putting together my Double Double Combo. My meal was worked on by several people and they even found a way for me to participate in the In-N-Out experience. I got to make my own Diet Coke. That's the way church should be. We should function as a team to provide the spiritual nourishment that people are looking for and always provide a way for them to participate in the process.

Research Assignment: Go to In-N-Out, order a Double Double Combo, take notes!

It's a tough mission...but you can do it!


I enjoy John Maxwell's Leadership Wired newsletter. Here's a great little piece from this week..

Five warning signs that technology is turning you into a machine:

  • Instead of reading to your children, you e-mail them web-interactive bedtime stories.
  • You’ve been known to e-mail your spouse when he/she is in the same room of the house as you are.
  • Given your habit of communicating entirely via e-mail, you haven’t spoken to your cubicle neighbor in over three years.
  • You’ve been hospitalized after spraining a thumb on your Blackberry.
  • You unwittingly offend your friends by simply saying “LOL” rather than actually laughing at their jokes.

I would highly recommend signing up for Leadership Wired

Staying Focused

Our focus at Harvest this year is threefold: EVANGELISM, EQUIPPING, and EXCELLENCE. ThereFriendly20reminder202_2  are so many THINGS that could easily distract us from this focus but we are determined! I was thinking this evening about what we are doing in these areas.

  • Excellence: We are almost finished with a remodel of our fellowship hall and it really screams excellence. We have started cleaning and painting to new classrooms that will be used for our children's ministries on Sundays and Thursdays. Our Facilities Committee is busy prioritizing projects that will move us toward becoming a Five-Star Church.
  • Equipping: MAN NIGHT was awesome this month! Jim and Helen McAllister from Harmony Church in Fresno spoke on "Why Church Growth Is Important" and it was amazing. We have a great Teacher's Meeting planned for February 28th and will be attending Dr. Stan Toler's Teaching to Influence Lives seminar in Fresno in March.
  • Evangelism: Our youth workers have been extremely busy with craft days and babysitting nights for parents in an effort to reach more children and young families with the Gospel. I'm starting a new sermon series in March on Winning Our World. We are asking God to give us 100 souls this year at Harvest. Evangelism is what it's all about!

I want to challenge all of our members here at Harvest to remind yourself daily of these three areas of focus. EVANGELISM, EQUIPPING, and EXCELLENCE. What are you doing to address these areas in your personal life? Start with the EVANGELISM focus and invite somebody to church this week!

Pastor's Blackberry

8700_frontBack in December I was dreaming of a NEW PHONE. I didn't want to go out and get one until after a few week's of our current Financial Peace University class. The class has been very good and I think everyone involved has benefited from it.

This week I followed Dave's advice. I had saved up for a while and so I began to search for a bargain. I found a 2 month old cell phone online. It is in perfect condition and was being sold by a businessman whose company switched service providers. I was able to get my phone for about half the price that Cingular wanted AND I didn't have to sign a new contract.

I HUNTED it down, KILLED it, and DRUG it back to my cave! It's a beauty too. I'm tempted to have it mounted and hang it on the wall above my fireplace.


Spiritual Warfare

Brother Cliff Donoho sends out a daily devotion that I really enjoy. This morning's really touched my heart as it seems that satan is busy attacking on every front at the moment. I know the enemy is more fierce when we are close to victory so it's kind of exciting and frustrating at the same time. Does that make sense? Anyway I thought I would share this morning's devotion with you.

Hello, my friends.  We've been looking at "guarding" ourselves so that the Devil doesn't take us captive.  Samson wanted a Philistine who lived in Timnah for his wife. When he told his parents, they tried to talk him into taking a wife among his own people rather than from the "uncircumcised" Philistines (Judges 14:1-3). This seems wrong. Why would Samson entertain such an idea and why would he be so demanding of his parents to fulfill his wishes?

Sometimes when everything seems so wrong we conclude it is from the devil. This was not the case with Samson and his Philistine wife. "(But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
)"(Judges 14:4). This was not only "not from satan" but was actually "from the Lord!"

God uses the weaknesses of Samson to accomplish His purpose. God desired to confront the Philistines for how they were ruling over
Israel and He accomplished His confrontation through the weaknesses of Samson, a man of great strength.

Samson accomplished great things through great strength prompted by great weakness and even sin. This is not an example so that we might live likewise. However, it is an example of God's providence, reminding us that God is at work even when situations aren't right and even when the intent of man is meant as evil.  Don't allow the devil to get  "toe-hold" in your lives.  He'll twist your thinking and before you know it, you're disobeying him in one area because you're upset in another area.  He'll drive you so far that you will turn on your own friends; family; & even church that loves you.  God Bless You, Pastor Cliff

Cliff is our chapel speaker on our upcoming Harvest Cruise. I just found out that He and His wife are going to be sitting with Kathy and me at dinner each night! I'm looking for practical joke ideas in preparation. :)

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You're Going To Hollywood Baby!

1703randy_jackson My six year dream to hear Randy Jackson say, "You're going to Hollywood Baby!" has come to an end. I was crushed to realize that you have to be under 30 to be on American Idol. Since finding this out I have started pursuing gigs at local churches as a Johnny Cash cover band. Getting old is such a terrible thing. NOT!

I found THIS ARTICLE on Baptist Press. I guess I'll have to cheer for these two guys on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the next few months.