Friday, February 29, 2008

Membership Has Its Privileges

It was about 5 pm on Thursday afternoon that Aaron interrupted my sleep (I was scheduled to work the mid-shift). He and a friend were on their way to see the St. Louis Blues hockey game when his newly acquired Del Sol broke down. He was about an hour and twenty minutes from campus and on Interstate 70.

He was also about 30 minutes from a very good friend that I've written about before. Chad was also sleeping prior to his mid at the St. Louis TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach CONtrol). I felt bad about waking him up but figured that he would be able to help me out. It turned out that Aaron was at the exit of another air traffic controller that is much more mechanically inclined that Chad (Bilbo's dog is more mechanically inclined than Chad). Chad calls Brian. Brian calls Aaron. Brian goes to Aaron and figures that the car needs to go to a shop for what will turn out to be several hundred dollars' worth of repairs. Brian makes arrangements for a tow to a reputable repair shop, takes Aaron and his friend home for dinner and lets them wait for friends to come pick them up from Columbia College. Brian even offered to drive them back if they couldn't find anybody to come get them.

Aaron's friend that was with him is an international student from Bolivia. Even though he didn't make it to his first hockey game, he had plenty to talk about with Brian. Brian has been to Bolivia on mission trips and knows the area that Matias is from!

Here's the thing: the only reason that Brian and I know each other is that we have both been active in NATCA (the controllers' union). I've worked with Chad at two different facilities, but never with Brian. Over the years, I've met Brian at many different NATCA functions and truly believe that he would have helped Aaron even if he didn't know me. But knowing each other and having a mutual respect for one another is a big plus. And it is nice to know that there are great folks that will go out of their way to help out one of your kids when you can't be there.

Aaron will be without his car for a few days and he had to postpone a weekend trip to Chicago to see his girlfriend, but he is safe and sound and back at school. A huge thanks to Brian and to Chad for taking care of Aaron and Matias.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Proud Teacher/Proud Student

Last weekend, Chris decided that the incentives were right to buy a new car--for her. All four of our vehicles have more than 100,000 miles on them. We went car shopping and took a drive in a Chevy Equinox. We looked right up to closing time and the salesman found a couple of suitable vehicles that they could make a dealer trade for.

On Monday, we got closer to getting down to what we wanted and and did some research on what we could expect to get on a trade-in on our '97 Astro Van. Tuesday I had to work and so Chris set out to make the deal. I know that she really wanted this deal to happen and called me when they wouldn't come up on their trade-in number and were just a bit high on the amount of the vehicle. I reminded her that we didn't have to buy the car and you can only get the best deal if you are willing to walk away from the deal. Well, guess what? She walked away...and drove straight to another dealership. She got the exact same car (not one like it, the SAME car) for a lower price and got the numbers we wanted on a trade! They picked up the car today from the dealership near Kansas City and it will be ours tomorrow.

I know that she is pleased that she made the deal. So am I. Way to go, Chris!

Pics on a later post.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


In an effort to simplify my life and make more time for family and ministry, I have resigned my position as the Central Region Representative to NATCA's National Constitution Committee. Congratulations to Chad Wilson who will be assuming those duties. Since Chad has a May obligation to his Guard unit, I'll still be in Washington DC in May for the pre-Convention meeting. (Guess I'll get to see the Nationals new stadium after all!)

The May meeting will also allow me time to see my brother Steve, and a chance to meet fellow blogger, Bilbo. The resignation will save me a week of leave later in the year and perhaps make time for a mission trip to Mexico this summer. I've already burned seven days of leave and a holiday this year for various evangelism conferences around the state. To date this year I've traveled almost 2000 miles, been at four conferences (preached at two, magic at three), been in eight different churches, booked two revivals, two camps, been called for pulpit supply and turned down three churches due to schedule conflicts. I have been witness to several first-time professions of faith, baptisms, members joining churches and heard some great testimonies. As I think about all of the things that God has brought and continues to bring to my life, most of what I do on my own seems pretty insignificant.

I am becoming more committed to sharing the Gospel Story of Salvation in Jesus. I'm not committed to becoming more judgmental, I just want to tell the story. Everybody gets to make their own choice. (uh-oh, did I just say I was pro-choice?) I recently had a conversation with a young man that said he believes that there is a Higher Being, believes that we have souls that live beyond our physical bodies, thinks that there may be such places as heaven and hell but hasn't really spent much time thinking about it. I simply encouraged him to spend some time investigating those things that are eternal. I mean if you believe that heaven and hell could exist, wouldn't you want to find out for sure? And wouldn't you want to know how to get into one and stay out of the other? Eternity happens to be a pretty long time. I hope to have more conversations with him in the near future. This life is a pretty fragile thing and can end at any moment.

This Sunday, I'll be at Living Waters in Nixa MO and on the 19th I'll be at East Side Baptist Church in Mountain Home AR. I've been to both of these churches in the past and it is always nice to be asked to back to a place. I have the Pastor's Bible study at Hopedale on Wednesday night.

God is soooo good!


Three years, ten months, ten days.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Video Recording

Responding to Gooseberried's comment on my last post, I mentioned that I try to listen to myself whenever I'm recorded. It helps me to improve on my speaking. I cringe when I hear an "uh" or "um" and listen for other annoying phrases or quirks.

With this in mind, when I found out that the session at the Missouri Baptist State Evangelism Conference had been video recorded and was available on DVD, I purchased the set so that I could watch myself and make sure that I wasn't doing anything gross like picking my nose or something less offensive but none-the-less annoying.

I know that we've all heard that the camera adds about 10 pounds (4.5 kilos) to your look. Who would have thought that by using three cameras I'd blow up to the size of a small condo? Holy cow! The guy in the video was huge! I'm not sure if I did anything disgusting or not. I was having a hard time getting past how big I was.

I had already decided to lose some weight this year and set the modest goal of 1 pound per week. I only need to watch that DVD every now and then to keep up the motivation. By the end of the year I'll be as slim as the guy in my profile picture and can feel better about updating it. I just told my wife that when I lose some of this weight, I'm shaving off the beard. For now, the grey beard is better looking than the underlying fat face. I've already had to delete a couple of profile view pics that Aaron had posted on my Facebook page. So far the weight has been slowly coming off. I need to lose 30 pounds at a minimum and would love to make it the whole year for 50 pounds.

Time to hit the treadmill!


By the way, I subscribe to Michelle's blog. I don't remember how I ended up reading her stuff but I keep going back. I've added her to the Blogs I Frequent along with a couple of others. If you've checked any of these other blogs out, you know that they are quite varied in personality and content. Somehow I feel like these bloggers are my friends and I am pleased to introduce you to them. If you decide to drop by, tell them I said Hello.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Winter Conferences

Well the winter Evangelism Conference season is over for me. The Barry County Association will meet Feb 23-26 in Cassville, MO but I will not be there. For the past four weekends I have been in four different conferences and had a great time with old friends and met many new friends. I have been a guest preacher in seven different churches, two conferences and been able to share the gospel message in magic at three conferences.

I have been blessed to book several dates for revivals, pulpit supply, camps and VBS through these events. I have been greatly inspired by some of the best preachers that I have ever heard.

The Pulaski Association's Conference was their first such event. They pulled out all the stops and invited some great evangelists. I was honored to be counted with them.

Ron Mills has always been a friend, mentor and encourager. He has given my name to pastors many times. He has helped and encouraged me more than I can express or repay. His 20+ years of ministry have allowed him to preach in nineteen states and twelve foreign countries. If you ever get a chance to hear him, do so. You'll surely be blessed...and tell him I said Hi.

Don Walton is another man that I always enjoy hearing preach. He is a Southern Gentleman through and through and a man that you can't help but like. He has also been an encourager and has helped me get exposure to pastors and church workers.

Harold Mathena is one of my favorite preachers to listen to. His easy country manner is contrasted by his great passion for unashamedly presenting the gospel. He is witty and has countless stories to share. While Harold will claim to be a simple, uneducated man of God, he knows as much about the Bible as anyone I know. Though I have met him through these conferences and see him just annually when we meet, I have a great amount of respect for him and proudly number him among my friends.

James Ogan has the smoothest voice you'll ever hear. And he not only sings wonderfully, he is a fine preacher as well. I have enjoyed the times that we've shared over a meal or in between sessions. It has been my great privilege to get to know him these past few years.

Ron Howard is one of the most talented people I know. He writes much of the music that he and his wife Haven sing. Ron and Haven make a great ministry team. Their ministry includes concerts, revivals and camps. They have been invited to sing for both small groups and large conferences and conventions. Haven plays piano/keyboard and sings. Ron plays horn and guitar (not at the same time), sings, preaches and makes us simple folks extremely jealous. I like his wit and sense of humor. They have much to offer in the way of ministry. Check them out.

Diane Edwards is a singer and has been involved with Women's Ministry for many years. Her husband, Gene, pastors the First Baptist Church of Mountain Grove. Although we have been at a couple of the same conferences, I haven't gotten to know Diane very well. It is obvious that she loves her Lord and wants to be of service to Him.

Phil Hamilton. This is the first time I have been at a conference with Phil and had some time to get to know him. Phil "sees" the world quite clearly for a blind man. He writes music, sings, plays the guitar and preaches. (Another one of those guys!) He can also tell you what day of the week you were born on (in the time it takes him to repeat the date) and can tell you something that happened to him on any date past the age of about five. I can't even remember what I did yesterday...and I'm not sure I could tell you what the date was!

Kudos to Jim Seago, Bill Dudley, Dwain Carter and all of the others that put together the Conference. I know that next year's will be even better! And a very special thanks to State Director of Evangelism, Gary Taylor and his wife Cindy for being a part of the week's events.

God is good.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

For the Record

OK! Enough Already! Let's set the record straight. First of all, let me say that I certainly support everybody's right to choose a political candidate or party that they want to support...and they can choose to support that candidate or party for whatever stupid reason that they want. But please don't judge me or try to convince me to follow along in the same blind manner that you do. I prefer to do a little fact finding on my own instead of leaving that to those would ignore reality and live in their little fantasy world.

You might be wondering, "Geez, what got John all fired up this morning?"

Really the article itself is not a bad one. More like the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. Anyways, it's as I recently pointed out to a fellow pro-lifer (yes, I am pro-life--I just don't base my political decisions on it), politicians lie to you! That's right, politicians say what you want to hear so that you'll vote for them. Now a whole party (Republicans) has convinced most of America that if you are a good Christian, you must be against abortion and therefore must be a Republican! (For the record: I am a registered republican.)

I'd like to think that the motives of all of those voters has been a good one: to support candidates with like views so that they can correct injustice and make the world a better place. Unfortunately, the politicians have conned you out of your votes and produced no changes. It's time to wake up and smell the coffee!

Here is the truth:

During the first six years of the Bush (W) Administration, the political powers in Washington DC were ALL controlled by one party, Republicans. The House of Representatives had a Republican majority. The Senate had a Republican majority and there was a Republican in the White House. There was also a majority of Supreme Court Justices appointed by Republican Presidents. With everything in their favor, what did the Republican Party do that would demonstrate that your pro-life voted counted for something? I'll give you a clue...NOTHING!

The Republicans are NOT a pro-life party. They are, however, the party that gets the pro-life vote. If you want to choose your candidate based on what they believe all means, do. But if you want to choose your candidate on what they will need to find out--What will they do? Eight years ago, if you would have asked W, "So you're pro-life. If elected, what do you plan to do about it?"

Truthfully, he would have had to answer, "Nothing." I know that he would have lied.

The thing is...nobody ever asks that question. No politicians are accountable for doing something that they never said they were going to do. Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and others have created a vast movement of voters that blindly follow their lead. Falwell was a great preacher. Dobson is, no doubt, a fine family psychologist. But they both stink as political analysts. I wouldn't go to Dobson for political advice anymore than I would seek out Obama on a question of raising kids. (I doubt I'd go to Dobson on the raising kids thing either! But you get the idea.)

So pick your party, pick your candidate, pick your nose for all I care. Just don't expect that they are going to follow up on their pro-life stance. The record shows that they lie.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

It is a great comfort to know that pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training this week. In Southwest Missouri we are thawing out from the ice storm that hit us on Monday. The kids are back in school today (first day this week) and will be making up a day tomorrow (they were scheduled off) and probably on Monday.

To help get in the "Baseball fever" mode, I purchased fifty...that's right five oh, tickets to the Cardinals vs. Royals game on the 28th of June. I am hoping to take one of the church buses for anyone that wants to travel that way. I know that many of you will want to make it a weekend trip and drive yourselves. Tickets are first come, first served and $24 each. It's section 307 if you want to visit the Royal's web site and check out the field view from the seats. Call me and get me a check to reserve your seats!

Cardinal single game tickets go on sale February 29th. Opening day is March 31st. Baseball season is upon us. Pujol's for President!


Monday, February 11, 2008

A Change of Heart

This Monday morning finds me in a hotel room in Lebanon MO. It is icy and slick outside and the morning session of the Laclede Association Evangelism Conference was canceled. I had a wonderful Sunday at Stoutland Baptist Church in the morning and at New Hope Baptist Church in the evening.

My friends, David and Teresa Towe came to the evening service and then we visited at their home 'til about midnight. They are really great people and I always enjoy visiting with them. If you are ever in need of entertainers, give them a call.

Parable of the Heart

I want to take a moment to share a video with you. I first saw the video at the Missouri State Evangelism Conference at the end of January. I spoke with the guy that is distributing it and he has a pretty good story of his own. However, I'm sure that he would much prefer that I share Daniel's story. The video has won numerous international awards. It is the true story of a young boy that has received a heart transplant and his interaction with the donor's surviving parents. It is just less than fifteen minutes long and I urge you to take the time to watch it now. The Parable of the Heart.

How I wish that God would hear the heart of Jesus beating in me. How I wish that others could see the heart of Jesus in me. Just as I know that my physical heart is need of my attention (better diet, more exercise, less worry), I also know that my spiritual heart is in need of attention (better diet, more exercise, less worry). As I work on changing habits that effect the health of my spiritual heart I have to ask the questions, How about you? Are you in need of a heart transplant? Does God hear the heart of His Son beating in your chest? Are you (because of His Son) righteous in His eyes?

As always, I 'd be happy to answer your questions (if able) and am more that willing to keep your comments confidential should you ask. My email is posted in the right column should you prefer to contact me that way.


“I will put a new spirit in them: I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19

Friday, February 08, 2008

Here comes the sun!

Well, Aaron finally made it home for the weekend from college. We have been waiting to surprise him with a car. We started looking for a Honda Del Sol when he was home for Christmas but really didn't find one that was suitable. They were only manufactured from '93 to '97 and are getting hard to find. I found this one right when he was heading back to school and made the deal on Tuesday (he left on Sunday). We decided not to tell him and have been waiting for him to grace us with his presence.

I know that he was really surprised and I hope that he enjoys it. He has been wanting a Del Sol since he first saw one before he ever had his license. I haven't posted anything about it 'cause I don't know if he ever reads (doubtful) his old man's rants. It's a Cardinal red '93 automatic, hardtop convertible. We had a new stereo installed (compliments of his girlfriend, Jenny) and ran it through the car wash before he came home. The only drawback is that you sit really low...about six inches from the ground! Aaron is about 6'4" and will look like a clown as he unfolds and stands as he gets out of the car. I'm surprised at how roomy it is, even for a big ol' boy like me. I can even wear my cowboy hat in it. (Yes, I have a cowboy hat! I even have the horses to go with it!)

We took it out for a drive and he has transferred all his stuff from the other car to this one already. He even gave me back the key to the Tracker...I guess he's done with that one!


Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Well I have completed another evangelism conference. This was the Mineral Area Association of Missouri Southern Baptists. The First Baptist Church of Bismark MO hosted the 2nd Annual Conference and did a grand job. The evangelists that came were great mentors, encouragers and friends.

I spent Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church of Park Hills and returned to First Baptist Church of Pilot Knob for the evening service. It is always a great thing to be invited back to a church! FBC Park Hills had a baptism, a profession of faith in Jesus and a family join the church! It was a great morning followed by a wonderful lunch at the church.

I had fun at each of the sessions with just a little bit of magic. I also booked a date for the Association's Youth Camp in June of this year and the week as Camp Pastor for Boy's Camp in '09 to coincide with a weekend revival in Potosi MO.

This weekend (Sat-Tues) I'll be at the Laclede Association Conference and looking forward to another great time with some old friends. I've added a March 2nd date at Living Waters Community Church in Nixa MO and looks like an April 9-13 Revival in Salem MO will be added as well. As often as work gets in the way of ministry, I'm glad that I'll be eligible to retire in just 3yrs and 11mos. I think that I'll have worked into full time evangelism by then. God just continues to open doors and make so many events possible in spite of my current schedule.

I've had another "non-event" or cancellation or misunderstanding about a booked date. I think that I'll move to a "contract" or signed agreement for dates in the future. It will probably be a good idea for both magic events as well as preaching dates. That way we can know what each party is expecting in the way of program length and content, accommodations, meals, expenses, etc. The date and times will be clear and that will eliminate most misunderstandings. Even churches can be rather inconsiderate about late cancellations or last minute changes.

Hopefully I'll have more time to make a more complete post while at the next conference. Internet access at the last place was limited so I mostly just used the computer for some games!