Saturday, January 31, 2009

Preparing for the Winter Conferences

As January comes to an end it is time to get ready for the winter season of Associational Evangelism Conferences. All of the conferences begin on Saturday night and run through the following Tuesday. Next weekend is the Mineral Area Conference in Bismarck MO. This will be the third year of this conference and it is an honor to be asked to come back each year. I have been to Pilot Knob for a revival and will be in Silver Springs at the end of March this year. I was a guest at their youth camp last year and will serve as camp pastor for their boy's camp this summer. All of these are a result of the exposure from this conference.

There is no conference scheduled for Valentine weekend.

The weekend of the 21st through the 24th is the Barry County Evangelism Conference in Cassville MO. This one is the longest running of the conferences and is also the largest in terms of participating churches and attending evangelists. This year will be the first year to for me to attend this conference.

The next weekend is the Pulaski County Conference and it is just their second year of hosting an evangelism Conference. Last year the Association's Evangelism Director said that he dreams of the day when the county will have more people in church on Sunday morning than are out of church! I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of growth they have had since we were there last year.

Then on March 7-10th, the Tri-county Association will host it's first conference in many years. I am very excited about this conference because this is my home association. I've been given the privilege of inviting the evangelists for this conference. These that I have invited are great preachers, great encouragers and are great friends. They have mentored me, given me great endorsements and I feel so good about being able to say thanks by having them come to our conference.

The basic program is a song service on Saturday night with all of the music evangelists participating. There will usually be one message--a sort of keynote address to start things off. Clyde Chiles will be the Saturday night messenger at our conference. Sunday will find all of the evangelists in different churches for the morning and evening services. There will be sessions in the mornings on Monday and Tuesday. The evangelists have free time in the afternoons and are back for more music and message in the evenings. Tri-county will not be using music evangelists but will use local musicians to encourage local church members to attend. It is my hope and prayer that this wil be a growing and continuing event. I would love to invite more evangelists each year and include our wonderful music evangelists for future years.

These conferences are great kingdom tools. Churches get an opportunity to meet and listen to evangelists in order to consider using them for revivals, crusades and special events. The evangelists get the opportunity to meet with pastors and book future events. Everybody gets to enjoy great times of worship and fellowship and lifting up the Holy name of Jesus.

On the down side...I won't be in my home church much in the next couple of months. I really miss the worship, the preaching and the teaching. I'l try to keep up with the posts to let you know what is going on. I'll have my laptop with me and should be able to make a connection from most areas. I will be at my home church tomorrow...and I can't wait to see how God moves among His people!


Friday, January 30, 2009


I know that we are all looking for ways to save money. I've picked up some things from friends and family and I'm sure that you have too. Some things are just simple sensible things and others are new information for me.

Some things are old just takes me a while to move when it comes to change. For example: Angel Food Ministries. Now it has been several years since I was first told about Angel Food. I don't know why I didn't check it out then. I've known of several people that have benefited by adapting their weekly meals to include food purchased through angel food. Maybe I thought that it was some kind of charitable organization or that I would be taking food from somebody with a greater need than I had. In any case, we made our first purchase of food through the local VFW. They are the host organization in our area. You can follow the links from the home page to check if there is a distribution site near you or to see what is available on the menu for February. I would encourage you to read about Angel Food Ministries.

Chris fixed this from a recipe in the February magazine from Angel Food. The steaks and frozen peas were a part of the package that we purchased. The mushroom, bacon balsamic glaze recipe was published and the mashed potatoes are made with butter, raw milk, a little garlic and black pepper. Trust me, it tasted as good as it looks. We had chicken fajitas on Sunday and the rest of the one week menu is in the freezer waiting to be prepared. Last month's menu (January) also included chicken thigh/leg quarters, hamburger patties, rib tips, cheese manicotti and side dishes like rice, beans, frozen broccoli and frozen peas. There were a dozen eggs, individual packets of oatmeal, cookies and a quart of milk. All for just $30. Meals are figured for a family of four and that works out well since there are only three of us at home. A good portion for the meal and leftovers for lunch for either Chris or myself.

If you are in the US and it's available in your area, check it out. At the very worst you'll try it for a month, get a good deal on some food and know that it's not really for you.

On another economizing item, Chris has started making our own laundry soap. I'll have to get her recipe and post it at a later time. I will say that instead of paying for packaging and to ship water that could come from your own tap, you can just save the money for something else. You'll help to reduce your carbon footprint and save money at the same time! I'll get that to you sometime soon.

Until then...
bon appetit!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter in the Ozarks

Well winter has arrived in the Ozarks!

The freezing rain and sleet started falling Monday afternoon, changed to snow Tuesday and continued to fall until late Tuesday evening. One of the odd characteristics of winter precipitation in Southwest Missouri is that we get a lot of ice and freezing rain. Monday's rain (temps below freezing) was accompanied by occasional thunder. Sometimes we get snow with thunder. This means that upper atmosphere temps are warm and generating convection, while the lower temps are cold. Last year we even had tornadoes in January.

One of the frustrations of living here is the poor way that the state and local municipalities clear the roads. After having lived north of Chicago and in northern Iowa where there is plenty of snow and cleared roads, it is plain to see that these guys haven't a clue as to what it takes to clear the roads. For one thing, snowplows work best when the blade actually touches the road! For another , it's best NOT to wait until the snow stops falling to start clearing the roads. Road salts and chemicals only work when you apply them. This list could go on for some time, but you get the idea.

Fortunately, the cold weather usually doesn't last too long. Today's temps reached a few degrees above freezing to start some melting. Tomorrow's should do the same. Most stuff should be thawed by the weekend! The heaviest ice was to our south and east with hundreds of thousands of people now without electric power. Some estimates expect areas to be without power for up to two weeks.


Our Missouri Baptist State Evangelism Conference was impacted by the weather. Many people started heading for home on Monday afternoon to get on the roads ahead of the winter weather. I didn't make it back to the Tuesday session and suspect that the attendance was down. I did get to see many friends, booked some dates and am excited about the upcoming associational conferences.

We had our Fellowship of Missouri Baptist Evangelists (FMBE) Annual meeting. I'm also very excited about the enthusiasm of this year's President. Jim McNiel was also the first President of the FMBE. He returns to the office with great enthusiasm for promoting the use of itinerant evangelists in local churches. I sat with Jim and a staff member from The Pathway for an interview about our organization and evangelists in general. I'm getting pumped up about the year.

Hopedale kid's camp will be a little bit different this year (it's a money thing), but I think that all of the players are excited about the changes. In reality, the budget tightening will help us to focus on our primary mission of reaching kids for Jesus. Doing things bigger isn't always the same as doing things better. With an overall theme of Refocusing, I think that the change in venue will help us as we plan for the weekend event.

The Tri-County Baptist Association is also making plans for kids camp. I'm looking forward to working with Nadine Gold and other staff and volunteers to make that camp a success as well.

In just over two weeks, pitchers and catchers will be reporting to baseball's spring training camps. Spring can't be far behind! I can't wait to hear those glorious words..."Play ball!"


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Night Refections

From my Sunday afternoon Facebook notes:

When Heaven Comes Down


It is hard to find the words to describe the atmosphere at Hopedale Baptist Church these days. Sunday after Sunday God's presence is felt by all and manifests Itself in the way of new believers giving testimony that they are trusting in Jesus as Savior and Lord! Today was another day of celebration at Hopedale as a visiting family of five all came to ask Jesus to be Savior!

Rich and the choir did an excellent job of setting the tempo and mood. The music service was full of praise, worship and anticipation of the Power and Presence of the Spirit of God. Our state evangelism director, Gary Taylor was our guest speaker this morning and brought a powerful message from the Book of Exodus and gave a great invitation.

One young girl that had been saved earlier, came to be baptized. Another young boy came reaffirming his belief in Jesus as Savior. And one visiting family came--father, mother and three sons--all to trust Jesus as Savior. Over a dozen souls have made first time professions of faith at Hopedale this month! We had a number of visitors today and Sunday School has started growing again. Our Men's class has grown to the point that we have had to take the tables out of our room and just put the chairs in a circle around the room. Soon we'll have to have them in rows to have room for all of us.

To God be the glory for the excitement and growth at Hopedale. Where programs have failed, sharing the love of God and His great plan of salvation continues to be the way that draws people to the Cross!


In addition to those notes:

Sunday evening was just as special. My friend and fellow evangelist Don Walton was our guest speaker. He is one of the evangelists that I've invited to our Associational Conference in March. I always enjoy getting to see Don and listening to him preach. As a special treat, he brought his wife Lauren with him. I'll be blessed to spend time with Don and all of the other evangelists and many of my pastor friends over the next couple of days.

God is soooo good!


For Claudia:

<-Hannah with Miss Priss

Hannah on Midnight->

Facebook and Random Things

So I got tagged by a couple of so called "friends" on Facebook for 25 random things about me. I figured that as long as I was posting it on FB, I might as well post it here, too.

By the way, there is a link to my Facebook page in the right column should you want to be my "friend." I would also encourage regular readers to scroll down to Followers and become a follower of Out of My Hat.

No tags on the blog--there are some things that I really don't want to know.
1. I had 12 different jobs in the first 10 years of our in the last 17

2. I once played the guitar (I still have two, but haven’t played in years)

3. I’ve taken the train The City of New Orleans from New Orleans to Chicago.

4. I’ve played Conrad Birdie in the musical Bye, Bye, Birdie.

5. I’ve played the lead in the musical Brigadoon.

6. I once ate six Burger King Whoppers in a single sitting.

7. Our Fresh/Soph two-mile relay team set a high school record that stood for years.

8. I ran a 4:54.2 mile my freshman year, 2:00.6 half mile my junior year.

9. I’ve been to Major League Baseball games in 11 different ballparks—8 in one year.

10. I met Mike Brady (Robert Reed) while working in a health club is St. Louis.

11. I’ve seen Kirby VanBurch’s magic show from backstage.

12. I won a 4-H Peoria County public speaking contest when I was 9 years old.

13. I generally sleep less than six hours a night.

14. I told my kids that factory smokestacks were “cloud factories”...and they believed me.

15. I like word origins and knowing how sayings came to be.

16. I like to read westerns.

17. I’ve never had a broken bone.

18. My first car was a 1966 Ford Galaxy.

19. My favorite car was a 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix.

20. I called in sick at work to take the test for air traffic control, but got in an accident on the way.

21. I belong to the Ozark Chapter of the American Christian Writers.

22. I own two horses.

23. I have taken pottery classes.

24. I worked on Steve Forbes Presidential Campaign in 1996.

25. I have been a member of a labor union for the past 20 years.


Friday, January 23, 2009

From the "Internets" to Communication

As one President leaves office and a legacy of secrecy behind (maybe he just didn't want us to know how little he was doing), President Obama opens the floodgates of Administration information. His plan is to be "transparent" and open about as much as possible when it comes to the daily workings of The White House.

You can go Here and subscribe to the White House blog as well as check into a number of other features. Looks like the Obama Administration is bringing something as simple as communication into the 21st century!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Getting Things Done

According to this post by CBS News, now former President Bush (W) managed to spend a third of his presidency on vacation. 487 days at Camp David and 490 days in Crawford is a total of 977 days. 977/2922 is 33.44% of his time as President on vacation.

Now I know that he is always the President, whether he is in DC or on his ranch, even so--he now holds the dubious record (or Dubya-est record) of the most vacation days taken by a president. He surpassed Reagan's previous mark (866 days) but daddy Bush managed 543 days in a single four year term.

So the last three Republican presidents managed to rack up a total of 2,386 vacation days (over 6.5 years) out of 20 years. The last two Democrats in office managed just 231 vacation days in 12 years. Carter had 79 days in a four year term and Clinton had 152 days in his eight years. No wonder the Democrats are considered the "working man's" party.

Some of the vacation highlights from President Bush include:

Mike Allen wrote in The Washington Post in August of 2001, as Bush's first long Crawford vacation wrapped up: "The length of the trip revived old questions about Bush's work ethic." Of course, no one knew at the time that Bush had, during the first week of that vacation, waved off the now-famous memo specifically for the president titled " Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." According to author Ron Suskind, Bush heard his CIA briefer out -- then told him, "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

Sheryl Gay Stolberg wrote in the New York Times in August 2006 that Bush was actually cutting short his time in Crawford that summer for symbolic purposes. "Last August . . . began with highly publicized protests by [Cindy] Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, and ended with the image of the president on vacation while New Orleans drowned, an image that helped start his slide in popularity."

In my (Dan Froomkin) May 8, 2006, column, "
Would Bush Rather Be Fishing?", I wondered if Bush doesn't really enjoy his day job. A few days earlier, when asked by a German tabloid to name the most wonderful moment of his presidency, Bush said it came while he was on vacation, fishing on his private lake.

Maybe we should be thankful that he was on vacation as much as he was. Can you imagine the damage that he could have done with another 3 years at his desk? One late night comedian joked that the Supreme Court was considering allowing him to run for another term given the amount of time that he was on vacation!

I thought that it was interesting that FOX News made a big deal of President Obama taking off his jacket when getting to work in the Oval Office. Apparently you had to have a suit jacket on in the Oval Office for the past eight years. No rolling up your sleeves and getting to work in the Bush White House!

I just wish that President Obama would trash the stimulus package. It should be obvious that borrowing money to pump into failing businesses doesn't work--at least it hasn't worked so far. Let the economy correct itself. The market will bottom out, the badly managed businesses will fail, new people will step up to fill the needs of the public (hopefully having learned something from the previous failures) and we (along with the rest of the world) will survive the crisis.

Sorry for the rant. I feel better now.
Looking for better days ahead (even though they may be many days in the future!)


Monday, January 19, 2009

American Symbol

From time to time in Southwest Missouri, you get to see something as beautiful as a bald eagle. This picture was taken by a friend from their front porch.

A fitting picture as we prepare to inaugurate our new President.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another Great Day

Wow! This was another grand day at Hopedale: both kids and adults coming to make professions of faith, people joining the church and another baptism. Church is really a great time of worship and a great blessing when God continues to make His presence known through the testimonies of His people!

If you are a reader that is in Ozark or the surrounding area, I want to invite and encourage you to come and worship with us at Hopedale. If you are not in this area (which would be most of you), I want to encourage you to find a place to attend church so that you can worship the Creator and be blessed by His presence. There are plenty of churches that truly love God and love those that are looking for answers to life's questions. I hope that you find one.

Pastor Terry's message was a reminder from the Bible that we are ambassadors for Jesus--His representatives on Earth. We have been charged as the ones to bring reconciliation to the lost.

A blog is not really the best forum to talk about God's plan of salvation, but it is what I have at this moment and the only contact I have with most of you.

So here's my question: In your personal opinion, what do you understand that it takes for a person to go to heaven?

I am interested in hearing what you have to say. I will not post any comments unless you specifically tell me that I can post your opinion. It is not my intent to say this one's right and that one is wrong. I am really interested in your thoughts on heaven and hell, good and evil, life and death. I hope that the promise of privacy will help you to feel free to share your thoughts with me.

Have a grand day!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Aging, Winter, and other Pains

So this morning I'm sitting at home with terrible muscle spasms in my lower back. I was so bad last night that I could barely move. It didn't feel too bad once I settled into a position, but moving was incredibly difficult. At one point, I was afraid that I would pee on myself because I couldn't get up from the couch to go to the bathroom. I'm not sure just what's going on here. I have a feeling that it has something to do with getting older and being out of shape. Might have something to do with the fact that I'm starting to get some exercise and the old body is in some serious rebellion!

I've been careful not to overdo it so that something like this wouldn't happen. C'est la vie.

I couldn't make it in to work today (barely made it out of bed) and had to cancel a dentist appointment. I did manage to make some coffee and am working on my second cup as I spend some time on my blog. I've updated my calendar of coming events as well as the calendar on my web page. I'm excited about how my calendar is shaping up for the year. I have a few ongoing conversations with pastors about upcoming revivals/events at their churches and still have the Associational Conferences in February and March. It should be another exciting year.

I've also updated the profile section to show that I've been an air traffic controller for seventeen years. That leaves just 2 yrs, 11 months and 22 days until I'm eligible to retire! Then I can sleep in until noon like Mike and search the internet for videos and obscure stories.


Winter has arrived here in the Ozarks. The temp is up to 12 degrees f (that's -11 c) and it has been snowing. I think that yesterday's high was about 16 f, and don't know how cold it got last night. The snow is light and dry and it doesn't look like we'll have much accumulation. I know that I'm in no condition to have to shovel it! Hopefully I won't have to.

To brighten up the gloom of winter, here is some good news--in just four days we can say good riddance to the eight years of the Bush Administration and look forward to the coming Administration with some hope of getting things turned around. I hope that nobody is expecting that President Obama will have a quick fix and that everything will be hunky-dory by mid March. There is a lot of work and sacrifice ahead of us to overcome the incredible debt that we are now under.


I'm sure that the economy has hit each of us in different ways. In our home, we are trying to be more aware of what we spend, what we waste and how we can save. Some things can result in larger savings and some things only a few dollars at a time. Recently we adjusted our cable TV, internet and home phone service for a savings of about $50 per month. Our cell phone contract is up next week with Alltel and we will probably make a change that better suits our needs and budget at this time.

All-in-all, we are doing quite well when considering the position that many find themselves in. I have a good paying job. Chris could go full-time if she needed to. Three of our four cars (four cars! That is a luxury on it's own) are paid for. We may get rid of Aaron's since he isn't using it at school. We don't have a lot of debt and we do have some security with our jobs. So even as we struggle to keep from losing ground, we have an obligation to keep our eyes open for those that need some help--a ride, a meal, a coat, some money, anything that may ease their burden and give them a moment's peace.

God is good! Share the love!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Morning Observations

Hannah is off to school, Chris is getting ready for a dentist appointment (oh boy!), Aaron's first class of the semester will begin shortly and I am enjoying a second cup of coffee while catching up on some blogging.

We had a great weekend at Hopedale Baptist Church! In the morning service, a family (mother and three kids) were baptized. Pastor Terry then delivered a very challenging message to us. At the invitation, three kids came forward to share that they had trusted Jesus as their Savior during the week and one family joined the church! One more young girl came forward in the evening service! Wow!

I want to get back to Pastor Terry's message. I previously shared some similar thoughts in a sermon written some time ago. I also pointed you to a blog written by a fellow controller and an excerpt from a book called One heartbeat Away. Terry's message was motivated by the haunting feeling that he has from the You Tube clip at the end of this post. In it, you will see atheist Penn Jillette talking about being given a Bible and the heart of the man that gave it to him.

Penn asks if you truly believe that you have the answer to eternal life, then how much would you have to hate somebody not to tell them?

I think that we all encounter people everyday that (according to what we believe) are lost and eternally separated from the God that we believe in. So why aren't we telling them about Jesus? Is it because we hate them? Is it because we are unsure of our own belief? Is it because we don't want to offend them? We don't have to be offensive. We can be caring and loving about sharing God's love. We don't have to be professional clergy, either. It is the job of every believer to share their faith; to be witnesses for Jesus. One of my favorite stories from the Bible is when Peter and John are before the Sanhedrin in the book of Acts. They have (by the power of the Holy Spirit) healed a lame man. The leaders ask them, "By what power or name did you do this?" Peter begins to speak boldly about Jesus. Then the Bible says that they (the leaders) recognized that these were just ordinary, uneducated men.

Ordinary, uneducated men that had been with Jesus. That is how the Omnipotent God of the Universe has chosen to spread the News of His Love...through ordinary men and women, empowered by His Holy Spirit. Peter was quick to say that it wasn't through any power of his own, rather it was through the power and name of Jesus that the man was healed.

Today, if you are a believer, let's covenant together to tell somebody about Jesus. Watch the video. Maybe you'll want to use Penn's example and ask somebody, "If a truck was bearing down on you and you didn't know it, would you be offended if I told you about it? If you didn't hear me or understand me, would you mind if I tackled you or physically knocked you out of the way so that it wouldn't hit you?"

If you are not a believer, I would love to tell you about my Savior. If you have spiritual questions that need to be answered, call me or comment. If you don't want your comments published, just let me know. Decisions about eternity are too pressing; to important to put off until later. Ask now. Investigate now. Decide now.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Slacker Blogger

So as I sign on today to catch up on blogging, I get MIKE'S obnoxious blogger harassing comment.

Yes I have been busy.

Sunday night was Aaron's first sermon. He preached the Sunday night message at Hopedale and did a great job. There were lots of friends that came to hear him as well as a good turnout from our church family. Rather than read a proud dad's rants about his message, here are what a couple of others had to say: here and here.

On Wednesday we (Chris, Aaron and I) headed to Chicago to take Aaron to the Moody Bible Institute to begin this semester. I think that Aaron will adapt well to life at Moody. Unfortunately, Aaron will only be able to transfer 11 of the 45+ credit hours that he earned at Columbia College towards his degree in Pastoral Ministries. He basically is a second semester freshman rather than a second semester sophomore. C'est la vie. Registration and orientation was Thursday and Friday. I came back yesterday, Chris is driving back today with Aaron's girlfriend's mom.

Anyways, it has been a very busy week. I've been keeping up with reading other blogs but haven't really found the time to write. I realize that this isn't more than a simple filler post but that's all for today. I'm sure I'll be back into the blogging mode in the next couple of days.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

An End to the Holidays

It would seem that this weekend somehow marks the end to the holiday season. The weather in the Ozarks has been mild and I saw Christmas decorations being taken down yesterday and expect more to come down today. Monday will find Hannah back in school and I'll be back at work after taking this past week off.

The nice weather has allowed me to get a good start on increasing my activity level by offering no excuses for a nice brisk walk. I have had my oatmeal for breakfast everyday and I also fixed a nice dinner of shrimp fried rice last night instead of opting for dinner out--cheaper and healthier, too. I spent some time on Jan. 1 on the weight machine, have found an online Bible reading program (already finished today's) and am continuing reading in Tarbell's Course in Magic.

Oh boy, three days into the year and I have managed to keep all of my resolutions!

I have updated my web site calendar as well as the "coming events" section in the right column. It is a good start for bookings in '09. The winter evangelism conferences usually generate a few bookings as well. It should be enough to keep a working guy busy.

I have filled out the enrollment application to begin working towards the Bachelor in Biblical Studies Degree but haven't sent it in yet. With a bit of persistence and work, I may be able to get my Bachelor's Degree before my son gets his! Aaron will be starting at Moody Bible Institute on the 12th. In a show of support to his calling to pastoral ministry, Pastor Terry is having Aaron preach at church on Sunday (1/4) evening. It will be his first sermon. Aaron hasn't asked for any help in preparation or said what he will be preaching on...only that his text will be from John 16. I guess I'll have to wait and find out along with everybody else!

I'm working on my next favorite Bible stories post and should have that for you sometime soon. If nothing else, the new year offers us a chance to start over and get back on track. I hope that all of you are doing well and getting re-focused or staying on course.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

19 Days to Go

With only nineteen days left in the Bush Administration, I thought that I would share some of my favorite quotes from the President that has best exemplified what a C student can do if given the opportunity. (He graduated from Yale with a cumulative GPA of 2.35!)

From a campaign speech in St. Charles MO, November 2000:
"They want the federal government controlling the Social Security like it's some kind of federal program."

In 2005:
"Who could have possibly envisioned an erection--an election in Iraq at this point in history?"

In a national radio address from 2001:
"My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast...that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire."
Yeah, right, George.

From a 2002 speech in DC:
"I just want you to know that when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."

And from Beaverton, Oregon, September 2000:
"More and more of our imports come from overseas."

More later,
Happy New Year.