Previous month:
September 2008
Next month:
November 2008

October 2008 entries

Book Signing Tomorrow

Hey y'all. As I check the site-meter each week ( the counter that tells me how many people read "Out of the Box" ) I note there are many more people who read it than tell me they do. There are hundreds of hits each and every week. I would love to meet some of you. Tomorrow, Saturday November 1, 2008 I will be at The Lifeway bookstore in Hixson near Target on Highway 153. I'll be there from 11 in the morning til 2 in the afternoon. I'm going to be autographing my book, "Lessons Learned in Obscurity". Even if you don't buy the book please stop by and say hello. I hope to see you there.

Pastor Ken 

Hope Bandits Defined

This feels strange. It's Monday and I'm blogging. Typically Tuesday is the day for putting thoughts to laptop, but tomorrow I'll be out of pocket and Wednesday is going to be a blur. So let's see if I can actually think logically on Mondays.

We began a capital campaign yesterday to try and build the last facility on this campus; a worship center. For the campaign we used a lot of personal testimonies to encourage people to participate. Over and over the people testifying used the same phrase, "Dallas Bay exists to be a beacon of hope". That's very satisfying because that is precisely what our vision statement says and it is good to know people have caught the vision. I also know not everyone shares that vision. There are actually hope bandits out there. Let me identify them for you.

The contrarian: This is the person who believes no idea is so good that a hole can't be poked through it. Whenever a new idea is proposed he declares it is not a new idea at all, but that it has been tried by the church down the street. It didn't work there and it won't work here either. Our Saturday night "Refuge at Dallas Bay" is one such example they claim is doomed to failure. Oh yeah, did I mention the capital campaign is another.

The alarmist: This is the person who amplifies every negative word they hear and feel it is their ministry to let me know about it. Usually their warning is prefaced by, "A lot of people are talking." Upon further investigation a lot of people may be the person they sat by last Sunday.

The cynic: The gift of cynicism is the gift of prophecy gone sour. They look into the future and see every program and ministry becoming a failure. You gotta love these folks.

The super-spiritual: This is the fatalist. The reason anything works or doesn't work is because God chose for it to succeed or fail. Our planning, efforts, prayer and hard work and sacrifice have nothing to do with it. This may sound spiritual on the surface, but these people are really full of doubt. Remember,the Israelites determined that God must have brought them into the desert to die because there were not enough gravesites in Egypt. They did not consider, even for a minute, that their failure was rooted in their unwillingness to trust God and His appointed leader Moses.

The good news is most people are not hope bandits. They really do get what God is doing and are excited about the prospect of the future. I'm personally excited to see what God has in store for us. I really have no clue as to what He is going to do. I do however, know my part is to remain faithful and to see that the hope of Jesus Christ is held out to our community. What about you?

Pastor Ken

Your Prayers are Heard in Jericho

Shalom! I got back just a couple of days ago from Israel. Thanks for all your prayers. Many of you commented that you were lifting me and the others traveling with me up in prayer. I certainly felt it. In one particular instance it was very apparent.

We begann our trip in Israel by traveling from the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv to a atown on the Mediterranean called Netanya. We visited historical sights like Caesarea Maritimaand Mt. Carmel from that location before moving on to a beautiful hotel on the Sea of Galilee. There we spent two wonderful days exploring northern Israel which included Caperaum, the Golan Heights and Caesarea Philippi. Then we left the northern area of Israel heading south along the Jordan River toward the Dead Sea. We were to spend the night in Jericho.

Jericho is in Israel but it is a Palestinian city. Our guide, who was Jewish, could not go into the city with us. We dropped him off in a hotel just outside the barbed-wire entrance to the city. We had to pass Israeli soldiers just to get him to his hotel. When we returned to enter Jericho we drove the bus through Palestinian soldiers guarding the gates to the city. Immediately the mood of the passengers on the bus changed. There were bombed out and vacant buildings all along the road as we entered the city. There were young men standing on the street corners eying our buss as we passed by. Posters with the likeness of Yasser Arafat were everywhere and his image was on the front of more than one teens t-shirt. The streets were almost desolate of motorized traffic. There were forlorned figures trudging the streets looking at the pavement as they walked and only glancing at the bus as it passed by. The laughter on the bus that was so prevalent before entering the city subsided and now only hushed tones of bench-mates discussing what they saw.

Upon arriving at the motel for the night the front desk met us with a smile and everyone began to feel better. At least we would be staying inside the compound within the safety of the hotel. We soon discovered they had booked us out in bungalows on the grounds. We were all a little nervous about being separated this way. When we took possession of our rooms we found them to be dark and full of odor. It was evident they had not been used in sometime. Then as we were gathering again to eat supper the haunting sound of the Islamic call to prayer begin to fill the air as if it were coming from every direction. For the first time while in Israel we felt like we did not belong. 

At dinner the discussion revolved around our situation. Many of us began to pray for safety. Not because of any direct threat, but our spirits were not at ease in this place. The travel guide from Harmony tours came and asked if we could have a meeting just after dinner and before my Bible study began. As we met, along with one of the team from the church, he expressed that several from the group had talked to him about their feelings about staying in Jericho. Already, people in the USA were praying for us as many had already called home expressing their concern for safety. This would have been on Monday afternoon in the States. Our travel agent said he would try to do whatever we asked but that it would be difficult to leave for Jerusalem that night. It was the Feast of Tabernacles and Jews were flooding into the city from all over the world. We asked if he would try and he said he would. Understand, none of us imagined this would be possible if God did not intervene. 

Just as I was finishing the Bible study Brad, our travel agent and American guide, came into the room and said, "Pack up, we're moving to Jerusalem tonight". His boss in the city had miraculously found a hotel that had enough empty rooms for thirty three people. We loaded up quickly with smiles on our faces again. As we drove through the dark streets of Jericho, once again we watched the lifeless figures of the inhabitants of that city shuffling through the streets. I imagined they did this all night long with nothing else to do. It was a visual reminder of what a world without the love of God would be like. 

I look back now and am sure that it was the prayers of saints in the camp and at home that got us out of that city that night. I am reminded of how the spies were led out of that same city thousands of years ago as God's hand led them out to safety. Thanks for praying. Your intercession was key to our safe and remarkable time in Israel. I'll share more about the things we saw and did soon.

In His Shadow and under His wings,

Pastor Ken        

One More for the Road

Hey all of you in the "blogosphere". I didn't have any new revelations about anything in particular, but I did want to give you one for the road before I left. The day after tomorrow, Thursday, I will be traveling with more thirty others to Israel. I'm excited for the opportunity , but I'm also a little bummed about having to be gone during this time. If you are a part of DBBC then you know the money situation is difficult at best. We are also at the brink of moving into the new building and all that entails. (Fire Marshall, building inspector, elevator permits...) I feel a little like a captain who leaves his ship just before it enters a storm.

Then again Dallas Bay has a more than competent staff without me. I'm sure they will do well while I'm gone. And the trip should do me good as well. I have been so busy being an administrator it will be nice to get back to my roots. Bible study and teaching have always been my favorite things to do and where Ifeel I am best equipped. I believe walking the same countryside where Jesus taught and performed miracles will be a much needed boost to my spiritual health and well being. To see the valley where the last great battle of history will be fought may just bring the skirmishes I deal with on a daily basis into focus. And to see the Mt. of Olives where Jesus will someday return could just bring the difficulties of being the pastor of a church with growing pains into the proper perspective. 

I wish all of you could go, but I know that is not a possibility. Someday, however, every faithful follower of Christ will  make the journey to Jerusalem. Not to visit for a week, but to live forever. Until that day comes you may have to settle for some photos. I'll try to take plenty. 

In His Shadow,

Pastor Ken