+ Our granddaughter, Ericka, celebrated her 18th birthday today. Just got back from a family outing to Dave & Busters.
+ Haven’t been blogging much lately as FaceBook seems to provide a better way to interact, but here are some random thoughts on today in no particular order.
+ Enjoyed the morning at Church At The Movies – we have so many terrific people.
+ Preaching wasn’t all I might have hoped it would be, but surprisingly a lot of people said it helped them.
+ Shared at both campuses that we are in contract for the sale of our church property. Everyone seems pumped. Not sure what the future holds, but that’s what makes it exciting.
+ Met some guests at both locations. Always good to welcome new people.
+ Dr. Cecile Forte worshiped with us today at both campuses. She is the Republican/Conservative candidate for Town Supervisor in next month’s elections. Nice to have a potential Supervisor who worships with us from time to time.
+ Colts are having an abysmal season, but my other team, the 49ers won again today.
+ Watched football all afternoon. Should probably have been at the gym, but that is the longest I have sat down in quite some time and I needed it. Feeling drained.
+ This time next Sunday I’ll be on a plane headed to India. Looking forward to seeing all my friends over there and teaching at the annual church camp for Covenant Blessings Church.
+ So proud of my grandson, Jace, who completed a 21 miles, two day hike today with the scouts. Great kid.
+ While teaching this morning I recalled that the three most significant decisions of my life were made during the 60′s. Became a Christian in ’62, went to Bible School in ’68 and married Gill in ’69. Yep, the 60′s was an outstanding decade.
+ Sitting here watching some Sunday night football and reflecting on my favorite day of the week.
+ Today we started a new series called HOPE and it was interesting that early this morning I read a tweet from Perry Noble telling pastors, “Don’t give ‘em hell, they’ve been getting that all week. Give them hope.” Great idea.
+ Arrived at Ronkonkoma campus a few minutes later than usual and setting up was already well under way. It does help to have our equipment truck back on the road, together with its new transmission.
+ Missing a few key people, but everything was where it needed to be in plenty of time. We’ve been doing portable church for 13 years now. The experts say you can’t last more than three doing it this way. They didn’t take New Yorkers into account.
+ Met a number of new people, including a lady from one of my WW groups who was visiting for the first time.
+ Good crowd – I guess summer is over! The lean months are challenging.
+ Todd and the band were in great form. I swear they’re getting better every week. Loved their version of The Wonderful Cross. The original hymn by Isaac Watts was written over 300 years ago – in 1707.
+ The first part of our HOPE series focused on knowing what happens when you die. I love talking about heaven. We ended with a video that I’ve shown loads of times, with some of our own outstanding folks starring in it. Hardly a dry eye in the place.
+ Vinnie Mercurio brought a band with him to lead worship at our Mastic campus. I got in for the final song and a half and it was special. Excellent. I really appreciate Vinnie’s commitment to us these past two years.
+ This morning marked the start of our third year in Mastic. God has been doing some exciting things there.
+ Good crowd there too. Excellent service.
+ Outstanding volunteers at that campus too.
+ Looking forward to Thursday evening when I’m starting a two part class introducing the Bible to people who aren’t too used to it. It’s going to be good.
+ Spent the afternoon at a training workshop for Weight Watchers’ staff. I’m not really up to a three hour class on a Sunday, but there was some good stuff in the teaching.
+ Had a short run after I got home – 3.22 miles at the gym.
+ It has been a draining few weeks, without a real day off. So I’ve deciced to take the next two days off. I’m going unplugged. No computer, no emails, no FB or Twitter. Hanging out with Gill, doing whatever takes our fancy. The only fixed commitments will be her 8.30 hospital appointments each day. After that, who knows?
+ Thankfully, Hurrican Irene arrived on Long Island as a tropical storm, so the impact was way less than feared.
+ It gave me a strange, quiet day today – not like a typical Sunday by any stretch. After more than 41 years of pastoring, I’m more than a little disorientated when I don’t have church Sunday morning.
+ Yesterday was so full, I was exhausted. I slept very late today, which means right through the worst of the storm.
+ So thankful that we had chance to be the church in action yesterday. Kudos to our great team who make the Grace Care outreach happen every Saturday afternoon.
+ Most of the homeless guys we feed didn’t expect to see us. Loved the one who repeatedly told us, with a smile, “Now get the hell out of here.”
+ Not long after getting home from helping out with our mobile soup kitchen, I got word that 150 people evacuated from homes in Mastic and Shirley were in a Red Cross shelter without food. Gill and I set off for Grace House with my sister, Pat, in tow and loaded up my Expedition with food from our food pantry. I was shot by that time of day, but seeing how thrilled the recipients were with our donations perked me up again.
+ Having preached at True North Community Church last Sunday, I was looking forward to seeing everyone at our Church At The Movies campuses today. Disappointed that didn’t happen. It emphasized how much I love our church family.
+ Thankful for our folks’ faithfulness in giving. Tithes already coming in through our secure church website. Go to www.churchatthemovies.com and click on the Online Giving tab.
+ Was fairly bored most of the day. I don’t do well at doing nothing. Was tempted to go into my office, but resisted.
+ Checked out Grace House this afternoon – all is well there.
+ We spent some time with Debbie Kreischer who suffered a severe sprain to her ankle yesterday.
+ Grateful to God that we didn’t suffer any real hardship, but realizing others did. Our thoughts are with them.
+ I know the earthquake on Tuesday and the hurricane will give some preachers their sermon for next Sunday. Personally I don’t think these were a divine warning or judgment from heaven, so I’ll stick to finishing our Real Faith series in the book of James.
+ Having no church today means we have to work hard this week with the final stages of preparation for our Ronkonkoma Street Fair Outreach all day next Sunday. We still need help from around 3.00 to 6.00. Give us a call if you can take a one hour slot.
+ So that’s it. Really looking forward to next Sunday!
+ Had a great few days in Texas earlier in the week. The picture is me with my two grandsons. It doesn’t have much to do with this Sunday, but I like it.
+ It was a challenging morning at both our campuses today, but God still did some amazing things.
+ Waking up to thunder, lighting and torrential rain is not the way anyone wants to start a Sunday, but that’s how it was.
+ In Ronkonkoma the front of the theater we use for our worship service was flooded. Not a good place to run all the wires for the band.
+ We relocated into a slightly smaller theater, which was just as well considering how the rain affected turnout. Great job by our set-up team of dealing with the challenges of a new theater.
+ A number of homeless people live in a makeshift shack in the woods behind the building and a couple of them come to our service. They brought a friend today. I love, not just that we can provide a free breakfast and a restroom to freshen up, but what I really love is the way our folks accept them. It made my day to see them walking from the cafe into service.
+ One of our guys left us today. Three years ago Lenny Price was a waiter Gill and I met a few times in TGI Fridays. He came to church, came to Christ, went on two missions trips to New Orleans and is now moving south to wortk with Mission Lab as they host missions teams coming in to help ease the continuing pain of Katrina. We will miss him. Outstanding guy.
+ We switched theaters in Mastic too, mainly to help with the logistics of breakdown with an uncooperative theater management breathing down our necks.
+ We definitely have some issues over there that need a solution. Please pray that God guides us this week.
+ Enjoyed teaching in both locations, continuing teaching from James 3 on controlling our tongues.
+ Loved the Run DMC intro to the message.
+ Today reminded me of what an incredible team of volunteers we have at both our campuses. They rode the challenges – and made things happen.
+ Love our folks, their commitment and faith.
+ Must admit that I walked out of the house early this morning wondering what the day’s challenges would be. Being portable means doing church on a whole different level.
+ Of course, it was hot, but then most of the country is right now. Theaters weren’t bad, but a few degrees lower would have been comfortable.
+ I think Mastic faced most of the set-up challenges today, from dealing with a bees nest before they could get to the equipment storage area to having no lighting in the KIDMO theater. Of course, problems are there to be solved and Jorge and the team did a great job. Pity Jorge got stung in the process.
+ Great vibe in Ronkonkoma. The place was alive long before service was scheduled to start. Todd and the band were in good form. The drums sounded particularly loud this morning, which suited me.
+ We ran out of bulletins, which isn’t bad for a summer Sunday when attendances are dramatically down.
+ Jonathan Bernor preached today on the first half of James 2. Outstanding teaching – home run. Glad to have him on our team.
+ I did take exception to his mocking the way I dress – especially when he was up front in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Just kidding folks!
+ I believe a lot of peoiple found the message liberating. It was life-giving.
+ Very happy to see a lady from one of my Weight Watchers groups come into the Ronkonkoma campus for the first time. She has some major stuff going on in her life right now and I am praying that she will know God’s help in a special way.
+ Enjoyed the luxury of staying in Ronkonkoma to the end of service and beyone. I normally have to rush out the door as soon as I have finished teaching, to get to Mastic in time. Since Jonathan was teaching, I got to mingle.
+ Arrived in Mastic three quarters of the way through the message. Vinny and friends from Lamb’s Chapel were leading worship there today. What a blessing they have been these past two years.
+ So we got to two services and then this evening we went to a third, visiting a new church. It had been organized by our grandson Jace and granddaughter Kimmy in their basement. Great launch day for them with standing room only. I think they may be onto something serving communion with Oreos and iced tea.
+ Charlotte and Eric leave tomorrow to take three of his daughters back to Maine. It has been good to have them down here. So glad Ericka lives here now – praying the others follow in time.
+ Very good day. Thanks for praying for Gill’s health. Please continue to do so – and pray for our friend Lynn that God will perform a miracle of healing.
+ Sitting relaxing for a bit now, though I do need to take our adopted dog Spencer for a walk.
+ Had an excellent morning at our Church At The Movies campuses. I am constantly amazed at the terrific teams of people we have who make what we do possible.
+ Summer crowds at both locations, but I was so aware that God was in the house and was doing some significant stuff.
+ Full bands at both campuses today. Todd is doing a terrific job of developing our worship bands.
+ Loved the way Taryn did How Great Thou Art in Ronkonkoma. They don’t write them like that any more.
+ Thoroughly enjoyed teaching the second part of our summer series in the book of James.
+ The bottom line was the fact we must not just say Amen, we need to live the Amen.
+ Let’s Live It is the theme for this week and beyond.
+ I think I hit every red light on the way to Mastic, but I still got there in time to hear the band’s final song – All Because of Jesus. What made it all the more significant was looking around at so many who were singing it and clearly celebrating their new life in Jesus.
+ Two people gave their lives to Christ in Ronkonkoma. That makes a good day great.
+ Came home to check on Gill. She seems to be recovering well from Friday’s follow-up surgery.She is amazing.
+ Fell asleep in a chair this afternoon – guess I was tired. But I did hit the gym later.
+ Fabulous day. Great church. Great God.
+ What a great morning at Church At The Movies. Started a little stressfully at both campuses.
+ Got the 7.15 phone call with news the caller told me I didn’t want to hear, as I was on my way to our Ronkonkoma campus. Seems the transmission on our 26′ equipment truck had finally died and it wasn’t budging. We knew it was on it’s way out, but not being in a position to replace either the tranny or the truck right now, we were hoping it would hold out. It didn’t!
+ Full credit to our set-up team who offloaded the truck where it was and got everything in place for a prompt start to a great service.
+ Over in Mastic the complication was quite different, the movie theater having booked a birthday party with 30 kids to coincide with our service. Granted we don’t use all the space, but it really isn’t big enough for two things happening at once without occasionally colliding.
+ Our high school students’ missions team set out from Ronkonkoma just after 9.00 for a week of inner city work in DC. Love our teens, but grateful my student ministry days are behind me. I don’t think the van radio has ever blasted music that loud before.
+ It was Celebration Sunday, so we had baptisms – 3 in Ronkonkoma and 6 in Mastic. That brings the total to 112 in the past 18 months. Contrary to what some may think, I’m not fixated on numbers, I’m focused on people and each of those 112 represents someone who has come into a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
+ Todd and the band rocked. Perfect song selection.
+ I enjoyed teaching, even though I had to try to squeeze everything into a 20 minutes time slot. No I didn’t manage to! But I came close.
+ Talked about freedom being found in Christ and focused on freedom from fear and freedom from guilt. There’s a whole teaching series there.
+ Got a little emotional during the final baptism in Mastic. Don’t know the guy too well, but love what I see in him. Leadership is tough at times. So many people think they have a better plan for the church than you do. It’s hard to stick the course, especially when that means losing folks who don’t see eye to eye with you. But when I see a huge guy, whose life has been totally turned around by Jesus, climbing into a portable baptistry at the front of a movie theater to testify to his faith in Jesus, it was worth it all. I’m glad I held the line – and whatever the cost to me personally, it was worth it all. We exist to seek and save those that are lost.
+ A lot of visitors in both locations today, which helped to mask a pretty thin holiday wekend turnout.
+ This was one of those mornings when I walk out the door with incredible gratitude to God for the privilege of being part of what he is doing.
+ Love our church. Love the people God is sending us.
+ Slept eight hours last night, but am exhausted now.
+ Watching the Mets game, but will probably go for a run soon.
+ So that was Sunday and it was also the celebration of my 61st birthday. Don’t ask me how I got to be that old, I have no idea.
+ Got off to an excellent start with our service in Ronkonkoma. Had a guest worship band, the high school worship band from Smithtown Christian School. Man, they were good.
+ The ladies in our Bagel Cafe had a birthday cake for me and though I would think that was a strange hour of the day to be eating cake, it was very popular. Our cafe team does a terrific job week after week.
+ Thin today, big graduation weekend for local schools and generally a lower turnout Sunday.
+ Great services though. I enjoyed preaching, felt I was sharing stuff that was down-to-earth and helpful while also being challenging. Almost lost my train of thought completely when I got off on a tangent about the bacon cheeseburger I planned to eat for lunch.
+ Saw some visitors in Ronkonkoma, which is always a good thing.
+ Todd was leading worship over in Mastic and the place was rocking by the time I arrived – I mean rocking.
+ Didn’t feel I got into the teaching as well in that service, but everyone appeared to be along with me.
+ Talked a bit about expanding our outreach by committing to sending a missions team to a young church in Romania next year. I don’t think those spots will be hard to fill.
+ Threw out the intention of developing our Grace Care outreaches – food pantry and soup kitchen – into Mastic. Don’t know how, where or when yet, but helping the hurting is what we’re all about. God has supplied all we need to feed tens of thousands of people over the past 9 plus years and he will help us as we reach out to even more needy people.
+ Ate that bacon cheeseburger deluxe for lunch in my favorite diner (34PP). It was good.
+ Glad to see the Mets beat the Texas Rangers. Jonathan and Haley were at the game, each wearing a different team’s shirt!
+ Got to have dinner over at Charlotte and Eric’s and am now officially exhausted. This was a very good day. I am blessed.
There are a ton of reasons why I was extremely pleased to have Bert Crabbe teach for us at Church At The Movies this morning. The fact that he’s a great communicator helps of course, as does his wicked sense of humor, his passion to help people connect to God and his enthusiasm for relevant church.
In just five years since he planted True North Community Church, it has become one of the largest and most vibrant congregations on Long Island, so the dude knows a thing or two. But he’s still very real, down-to-earth and is constantly looking to push things forward.
Loved his teaching this morning. Pity we had mike problems in Ronkonkoma as this meant him ending up with a handheld and I am sure he was restricted by having only one hand with which to gesticulate. Is Crabbe an Italian name? Good, clear, uplifting message. I’d listen to Bert preach anytime. His being with us also meant I got the chance to hang out with him for a morning too of course, which was another win.
But here’s the main reason I was glad that Bert came to us today – It sends the right message to both of our churches and maybe to a few others too. And the message is this – We’re all on the same team.
A win for True North is a win for us and our victories are their victories too, because what we’re about is God’s kingdom and not our own kingdoms. However they talk, too many churches have in reality separated themselves from other congregations, through fear, suspicion, conflict or elitism.
Elitism is the kicker in this picture. It’s bred by pastors who go to great pains to explain why their one church is the best thing since sliced bread, that every other church compromises its message and that if you should ever dare to move out of their one church, you’d be out of God’s will, declared un-blessed and in real danger of hell fire.
Time for us to realize that however our styles may differ and whatever incidental differences there may be in how we understand truth, we’re part of each other and we need each other.
Thanks Bert, for reminding us we’re working together, pulling for one another, with one purpose - to see people come to faith in Jesus.
+ Continued our Superheroes series at Church At The Movies this morning. Great to be back with everyone after being down in Texas last Sunday.
+ Enjoyed speaking at both campuses on being All In. It’s the only way to do the Christian life. If you kinda do it, it kinda works – If you really do it, it really works.
+ I arrived way later than usual, so as to leave Gill at home alone for as short a time as possible while she recovers from her surgery.
+ Band was great today.
+ Turnout was typically down for Memorial Day weekend. I learned years ago that church is about the people who are there, not those who aren’t.
+ Great to have Bob McGee back in Ronkonkoma after being seriously ill for months now.
+ Beautiful summer day. Looks like we’ve moved from freezing winter and miserable spring right into summer.
+ Got over to Mastic campus in good time. It was thin over there too.
+ Took some time to remember those who died for our freedom and recognized our veterans too.
+ I feel today was decision day for a number of people. Looking forward to hearing feedback.
+ Got back to the gym this afternoon after running on the road over the past ten days. The treadmill’s a lot easier.
+ Jonathan Bernor, Chase amd Andy arrived back from their missions trip to Russia this afternoon. Looking forward to hearing about their adventures. Not sure if it’s safe to let that trio abroad alone!
+ Really looking forward to having Bert Crabbe teach for us next Sunday. That’s who I want to be when I grow up.
+ Mets beat Phillies – this could be a perfect day.
+ Jonathan and Haley arrived back from honeymoon in St.Maarten. They won a week in a beautiful beach resort down there and have given it to us as something for Gill to look forward to once her treatment is over.
+ Love my kids. Love my church.