Tony and Make up

Recently, I confessed that I gave in to our Video Team and let them apply make up to my face.   I was very suspicious and believed that Tony Wood was actually playing a joke on me and that I was going to pay dearly for allowing this.  Well, I came to find out …. Tony is wearing make up too!   Not only is he up on the big screen, but Generate broadcasts their service on the Internet Live. Therefore, he has to be professional enough to have his make up done.

Tony is that kind of guy.  He puts himself on the line for the ministry and the effectiveness of it.  It is paying off.  If you have been reading my blog regularly,  you know that Pam and I beat Tony in the Facebook competition.   But, I need to be honest and tell you that when it comes to the number of blog readers, there is no competition. When this blog started averaging 1300 people reading it per week, I got really excited.   Then, I found out that Tony’s blog gets more than that in one day.  

I seriously, praise God for Tony’s commitment and all out dedication.   And I am really thankful that I know what to get him for his birthday…concealer and face powder!


Dear Chuck 1

I am excited to hear that so many of our church family members are spending time in the Word and journaling together daily.   I have heard of many different groups taking part in this together including families, Jr. High study groups, and different departments in our church.   It is incredible!  I think that our Spirit-filled service on Sunday night was a direct result of our church being in the Word in an intentional and unified way.

Naturally, I have received many questions from congregation members who have been reading and need clarification on some of the material in Genesis and Luke.   I am going to start using this Entheos Blog as a place to answer some of these questions.   Today the questions come from Chelsea , Heather, and Lisa.   By the way, I received a question about Gensis 6 which I will be answering on Sunday night. 

In Genesis 1:26, it says “Let US make man in Our image.”  Who is the us and our?

There are two possibilities here.  One is that God is referring to the Trinity: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.   The other possibility is that God is referring to Himself and the angels.   I think that the second is more likely.  Genesis 18 says that the Lord appeared to Abraham.   Then, it says that there are three men with whom Abraham interacts.   The three men would be God and two angels.  We see here God working in unity with the angels. 

 Did God physically walk in the garden?

I think we would be right to assume that there was a physical interaction because    there are many places in the Old Testament that God took on a visible and physical form for people to interact with Him.  Again, look at Genesis 18 and see that He did this with Abraham.

 Who did Cain and Abel marry?

Cain and Abel would have married their sisters.   Abraham married Sarah who was his half sister (Genesis 20:12).  Later, in Leviticus 18, God prohibits the marrying of relatives.  

 When God spoke to Noah, was it out loud back then or like now?

The Bible does not specifically tell us.   God may have spoken out loud.  In John 12:28, we find that God spoke and the people heard it audibly. 

 Was Lot Abram’s nephew or grandson?  (My bible says both)

Lot would have been Abraham’s nephew.  Abraham did not have any children until he had Ishmael which means it would have been impossible for Lot to be Abram’s grandson.

In Genesis 5 and Luke 3, there are long lists of names and family histories–what is the importance of these because I don’t know who most of the people are?

The genealogies are important because they give us the heritage of Christ.   God’s plan all along was to save us with the coming of the Messiah.  In Genesis, God begins to give us the family history of those who the Messiah would come from.   It would begin with Adam, go on to Abraham, then David, and all the way to Jesus.  

The genealogies are also important because there were many promises and prophecies that were fulfilled in the people listed.  For instance both David and Abraham were promised that the Messiah would be from their family.

In Genesis 6 it says that Noah was blameless–how can that be when only God is perfect?

Noah being blameless does not mean that he did not have sin.  You are right: Jesus is the only one who ever lived without committing sin. Noah was “blameless in his time,” compared with the people of his day.

 In Genesis 9:5 it says that a person that murders someone should be killed–is this indirectly supporting the death penalty?

It does support capital punishment.   There are some sins that are so grievous that the Bible calls for capital punishment to be enacted.   The Bible puts certain measures in place to ensure that no one is put to death who has not actually committed the crime such as 2 eye witnesses having to testify to the crime.  If the eye witnesses are found to be telling the truth, they had to be the ones who enacted the death penalty on the murderer.

In Luke 4:41, it says that because Jesus knew that the demons knew he was the Messiah, he told them to stay quiet–did he not want people to know that he was the Messiah?

There are two reasons.  One was timing.  Jesus wanted to reveal who He was in His own way and in His own time.   The other reason is that Jesus did not want the proclamation of His being the Messiah to come from something so evil.  

I love the questions and it is going to be a fun year digging in together.


Facebook 2…The Battle Continues

If you read my earlier Blog (Facebook),  you know that a battle of epic proportions is taking place.   Tony Wood (the handsome and amazing Lead Pastor of our Generate ministry) and Pam Booher (my beautiful and talented wife) were in a competition to see who could acquire the most Facebook friends.   I prodded them on without letting them know that I was going to join in.  My sneak attack worked, because before they knew I was in, I passed them.   Then, Tony stepped it up a notch and flew past Pam.    It looked like that was the way it was going to stay. However, when the holidays came, Pam had more time and the Lord started bringing people from our past into our lives via Facebook.  It has been an amazing holiday gift from our Father in Heaven to be able to reconnect with so many people.  The fringe benefit of this blessing was that Pam got hundreds of friends on her Facebook page.   She now has skyrocketed past Tony. As of now the count stands this way …

Chuck 961 Friends

 Pam   909 Friends (and climbing quickly)

 Tony 754 Friends

Oh, I forgot to tell Tony that the winner gets a new car…My bad… LOL!


The New Year

As we get ready to enter a new year, there are lots of things that are on my mind.  One passage of scripture really stands out.  Proverbs 3:3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.

I feel that I really began 2007 being  kind, truthful and careful.   I was being wise and prudent and seeking understanding.  I was a little broken hearted which made me tender.  I was praying and contemplating whether God wanted me to leave CCV.  It had been my home for over 19 year which was the longest I had stayed in any one place.  I loved (and still love) the people of that church as true family.  Even though Pam already knew that God was calling for us to go, every thought of leaving made me emotional.  In that time I needed kindness.   I treasured every kind word and thought that came my way.  Since I needed kindness, it was easier to be kind. 

Now two years later, I wonder how kind, wise and prudent I am.   I am in a place of stability.  I actually have never felt more excited and blessed by God than I am at this moment.   I love our church, our staff, and the opportunities that lay before us.   We are expecting a new Grandson and life right now seems so good. 

In 2009, I want to put Prov. 3:3 into my heart and into practice in my daily life.   I want to be a man of truth, but just as much a person of kindness.   I want, in this time of stability, to remember that a kind word is always Christ like.   I want to remember that many people are tenderhearted and need the kindness that I needed back then (and will need again).

May God give you an amazing New Year.  May we give God our whole hearts and be a blessing to Him.


Make-Up

One Sunday morning I was standing in our Living Room (our decision counseling room), when Henry who heads our video department came to me with a shocking request.   He asked to put make up on me.  I quickly and with my most manly deep voice said, “No!”   Henry explained that I look shiny on screen when I preach and that it actually is a distraction.  I began to search the room thinking, “Where is Tony Wood? I know that he put Henry up to this. He is waiting in some corner with a camera ready to jump out and take a picture to post on the Internet as soon as Henry puts make-up on my face.” Henry kept assuring me that that this was not a joke.  He was trying to convince me the need was legitimate.  

I wish that I could tell you that I stood my ground.   I wish that I could tell you that I informed him that Moses glowed, and if it was good enough for Moses, then glowing was good enough for me. However, I did not stand my ground and I did not continue to glow like Moses. Henry is a true professional and I decided to trust him.  If it turned out to be a joke, then I would just have to come up with a way to get them back!  With much apprehension, I let them apply the make up as people gathered and took pictures.   I was curious as to whose make up it was.   Henry informed me that he had gone to Pam (Pam was in on it), and she suggested that he get it from Kathy Heisinger.   Kathy is a very dear friend and she is gorgeous.  I think they thought using her make up would help my looks.

Henry was being sincere. It was not a joke and apparently in this day and age in it is better to not glow on screen.  Since that infamous day, they have gone out and purchased powder that matches my skin tone.   I am still not used to sitting before each major service and getting powder put on my face.   I have had weird images in my mind of going to the Mac counter to buy make up for myself…Hey…maybe, they’re having an “After Christmas” sale.


DUO- Driving Under Observation

Having an awesome Executive Assistant is an incredible blessing as well as a bit of a curse.  Pam and I knew that Taleah would be great as my Executive Assistant because she is very observant and intuitive.    She has an uncanny ability to read people and situations.  However, just the other day I realized that maybe her observation skills are not such a blessing after all…

I had just come back from having lunch with our Finance Department and they remarked that I had beaten them back to the office.  Although, I didn’t know that they had been racing me, I gloated in my victory. But, my gloating came to a quick halt, when Taleah stated that I am a crazy driver. What?! Me? A crazy driver? Okay, I’ll admit it, I am a bad driver, but I didn’t expect Taleah to go into a play -by- play description of my horrible driving!

She proceeded to tell these particular staff members that when Pam and I pick her up for church on Sundays, she sits in the back of our car filled with terror and praying that she will make it to church alive. She said that she could not believe how Pam could be so calm and relaxed sitting in the front seat.  Pam will calmly point out to me that the cars ahead of us are slowing down. Unbeknownst to us, Taleah’s knuckles are turning white as she grips the seat and wants to yell, “HIT THE BRAKES, NOW!” Pam will politely let me know that there is a car next to me as I go to change lanes. Taleah, is on the brink of a heart attack and about to scream, “WE’RE GONNA DIE!” Pam serenely tells me that I am about to miss our off-ramp. Taleah (knowing that I will swerve across all lanes to get to the off ramp) is biting her lip and thinking, “JUST TAKE THE NEXT OFF- RAMP!”  

I am now thinking that Taleah’s observation skills may not be such a blessing after all! The Finance Department now refuses to step foot in my car and they are all more excited about the life insurance policy on me of which the Church is the beneficiary.  Hmmm…maybe, I will have a rider put on it that names Pam and Taleah.


2300

Today, I met with the Lord for the 2,300th day in a row. What do these 2300 appointments with the Lord look like? Well, just like any other meeting in life, I set aside a portion of time for Him and me to be alone. After finding a solitary place to sit down with my steaming cup of black coffee, I pray and ask Him to help me hear what He has to say to me.  Then, I read and study Scripture while continuing to converse with my Father.  I conclude our meeting by journaling what He taught me that day.

 The other day, Joel Fairley asked me what the result of my consistent meetings with the Lord has been.  This question had never been posed to me before and I really had never thought about “the result” of these appointments. However, I found myself fervently spilling out words to explain the results of my meeting with the Maker of the Universe on a daily basis.  My answer was not necessarily the “right” answer nor was it a carefully thought out answer, but the words that spilled out reflected the passion in my heart for my Father in Heaven. I desperately wanted to explain to Joel that my quiet times infuse me with admiration for my Lord.  I am in awe of Him and more in love with Him than ever before.   Each morning, I wake up excited to get my Bible and spend time with Him.  

 I liken my feelings on spending time with the Lord to my feelings about my wife Pam.   No matter how excited I am to be at church, when the time comes for me to be able to head home and be with my wife, I am overjoyed.   I look forward to being with her and just spending time with her. She and I have been together for about 12,315 days. My love for her has grown every single day. Today, I enjoy spending time with her more than I ever have before.  My relationship with the Lord has progressed in the same way. The more time I spend with Him, the more I fall in love with Him.

I really appreciated Joel asking the question.   It has lingered in my mind for awhile and when I received this email from him I realized that it stayed on his mind for awhile too.

Hey Chuck,

Thank you for your answer this morning regarding the difference 2300+ days of quiet time has made in your life. What you said was a blessing and somewhat of a surprise. When you said you couldn’t wait to get up and be with the Lord…and that you looked forward to your time with Him, the look on your face was child like, and I was reminded of my experience with the children at the Children’s Home in India. When we would walk out to where the children were, we would be mobbed by them and they would grab us and say, good morning, and talk all at once at us. It was glorious. Your answer reminded me of what I wrote in my journal on October 17, 2008;

‘The Children at the Children’s home for CICM, are the purest form of a child beyond the influence of culture, and media I have ever seen. They are joyful, affectionate, friendly, fun, and loving. When you walk into a room they hold your hand. They want to be with you. This is I think, how God wants us to be with Him. Right Lord?…to play with you, to crawl on you…hold your hand…to rejoice that we get to be with you. Is this what Jesus meant by receiving the Kingdom of Heaven like a child? Is this what it looks like, like Prikosh’s big eyes looking up at you?’

You reminded me of Prikosh today, when you talked about your time with the Lord. If this is what 2300 straight days of quiet time gives you, then sign me up. I want that.

Blessings,

 Joel

My hope is for all of you to be passionate about spending time with the Lord like the children of India were passionate about spending time with Joel. I hope that you want to hold His hand and crawl into His lap and rejoice in just being with Him.    We, at Crossroads are offering a feasible way to start this journey by offering a journal that I used to begin my consistent appointments with the Lord.   I sometimes go back and use the method that the journal teaches.  The journal contains a schedule of daily Bible readings that will take you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in one year. If you follow it, you will spend 365 days in a row with the Lord. As you interact with Him, you will find yourself falling more in love with your Father in Heaven.  Like little Prikosh in India, you will look up at your Savior through awe and love-filled eyes.


Big Blessings Come in Small Packages

A week ago, we were at a major celebration in a crowded restaurant with a group of people from church.  Pam and I sat down at a table and were joined by Scott and Beka along with Ronnie and Natalya.  We all passionately began to talk about what God was doing in our lives and how we are seeing Him move this Christmas season.   As we were talking, Natalya jumped up in mid conversation to help out two people who had just come in and were unable to find a seat.  I watched her help them find a seat and make them feel welcome. Her genuine spirit and caring heart moved me.

Natalya has only recently entered our lives and we have found her to be a 5’1” nuclear impact of blessing.  She loves the Lord and has a contagious passion for Christ. She constantly seeks to grow in her relationship with God and desires to live a life that pleases Him.  Her thirst for knowledge evidences itself when I am around her. I feel like she is ready to soak up every word and use it to grow.  Natalya’s boundless energy and sense of humor put a smile on the faces of all who come in contact with her.

One night Pam and I were having dinner and on my Loopt, I wrote, “Having dinner at Claim Jumper… Celebrating Ronny and Natalya’s engagement.”    Immediately, I received a shocked text message in response from Natalya.   She could not believe that I put that comment on the Internet for all to see! I enjoy joking with her about her relationship with Ronny. We all love them so much as a couple; it is hard not to pressure them to move to the engagement, marriage and 5 children stages!

One of Natalya’s best gifts is her beautiful voice. A couple of Sundays back, I was at church with a thousand things swimming through my mind.  Then as the clock moved to the time for the service to start, I began to seek the Lord and ask for Him to quiet me, to reveal Himself to me, and to show me what I needed to see and think about. Then, the worship started and at the end of the praise time, Natalya sang my favorite worship song (at least for this point in my life), Always Forever.
  I love the song and I love the way Natalya leads us in it.  There is a certain note that she hits towards the end that is powerful.  I can imagine God being truly blessed by her and I am thankful that He has blessed us with her.   Sometimes God does send us big blessings in small packages.


Wise Guy

Yesterday, I really blew it. For some reason, I have ceased to guard my mouth and the words that come out of it.   A year ago, guarding my mouth was something I worked very hard to accomplish.  Wisdom and prudence were my goals.   I thought before I spoke which meant many times I said nothing at all.  After putting much effort and prayer into this aspect of my life, someone said to me that they and their friends were calling me the “wise man.”

Today, I don’t feel that they would still be referring to me as the “wise man.”  Now, I blurt things out and have been speaking before thinking and even worse, before praying.   I have moved from being the “wise man” to the “wise guy;” and even more likely the smart alec.   This is disturbing to me because I want to be like David and ultimately like Christ.   David was able to say, “You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” (Psalms 17:3).  Why could he say this?  He could say this because he had become intentional about this area of his life.  He tells us that he made a commitment; “I said, ‘I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence.'” (Psalms 39:1)

I like that I was “muzzled” like David last year.  I enjoyed life more and I think I was more pleasant to be around.   I am grieved at what I said yesterday and so I prayed David’s prayer for myself, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalms 19:14).  

Paul actually commanded us, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)  What a great way to filter my words: only speaking words that are good for edification, good for building up and not tearing down.  However, the one phrase that really reverberates within me in this passage is to only speak words that “give grace to those who hear.”   What an amazing thought and truth; we can be grace givers!

One day, after lots of energy, intentional effort, and prayer, I hope that someone will come up to me and say that they and their friends are calling me a man of grace.


Facebook

From the sidelines, I have been observing a competition of epic proportions.   The battlefield is Facebook and the contenders are Tony Wood, the dynamic Pastor of our Generate Ministry and my sweet beautiful wife, Pam Booher.  The contest: Who can acquire the most Facebook “friends?”

I sit on the edge of my seat staring at my computer screen watching the two of them fight for the lead in a day by day steel cage social status match.  I find it amusing that a vibrant pastor who is ministering to thousands is in such a close battle with a grandmother of five!   Last I looked; Tony had grasped the coveted lead position.

A few weeks ago, I decided to jump into this Facebook world to start reacquainting myself with people I had not been in contact with in a long time.   I opened my very own Facebook account on a Saturday and was immediately hooked into the process.  I began to find fellow Pastors who I care about but do not get to interact with as much as I would like, students who had been in our youth ministry, and friends from my High School and College days.

As I proceeded, I made it a matter of prayer:  Who are people that God had brought into my life that He wanted me to keep up with?  As I sat in front of my computer, Ashlea-Ann Thornton’s face came into my memory.  Ashlea was a student in our Youth Ministry when I was at CCV.   Pam and I loved her vivacious spirit and we spent a lot of time watching her play volleyball for South Hills High School.  I went on a “friends search” to find her.  Later that night Pam informed me that she had just received a comment on her “wall” (Facebook home page) from Ashlea letting her know that she had had a dream about me the night before!  I contacted her right away and let her know that I had just been thinking and praying about her. It really seemed to be a divine appointment.  She is now one of my Facebook “friends” who I get to pray for and keep in contact with.

It is amazing how God can use these man-made social networks for His glory. It has become a tool for me by which I can love and care for others.  Unlike Pam and Tony, I am not concerned with how many friends I have…well, maybe just a little…okay, who am I kidding?…Pam and Tony, I am very proud to say that I just passed you both on the friend count!


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