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Archive for March, 2009

“Old” Friends

I guess the Lord thought I needed to see some “old” friends the last couple of weeks. 🙂

Last week, Bobbie (Shoemake) called me and said, “Ronda, I have told some people about the Hollister church and they want to visit.  What time do you have service?”   I told her and she said that’s what she thought but wanted to make sure. 🙂  So, last Sunday Morning she called again to get directions.  Now, remember during these conversations I never asked her the people’s name or anything.  I know, brain freeze.  I just told her to tell them to be sure and introduce themselves and let us know that they were the ones sent by her. 🙂  Well, after Sunday School as I was walking out of the sancuary and into the foyer I saw a man talking to someone and I thought, “he looks so familiar”.  Then it dawned on me, MY LORD, THAT is DALE HOPPER!  Hahahaha!  I ran and gave him a hug and then around the corner her comes his wife Carolyn.  The connection here goes waaayyy back.  I grew up with their kids, Cindy and Kevin.  Bro. and Sis. Dale Hopper were youth leaders in my Dad’s church in Fresno, California when Keith and Linda (my brother and sister) was in the youth group.  When I got old enough to be in the youth group,  Bro. Dale Hopper “retired” and his brother and wife,  Bro. Gene and Sis. Karen Hopper took over.  Whew!  I hope all of that made sense. 🙂  Anyway,  it was such a pleasant surprise to have them with us in service.  The only thing that could have made it better is if Cindy and Kevin had walked in with them.

Yes, I called Bobbie right away and said,  ” You are really sneaky.  I owe you one”.  LOL

Okay!  Fast forward to today.  After choir practice I am standing in the foyer of our church and looked out the window and walking up the steps is Danny and Renee Valentine.  Oh my word!  I could not believe it!  What in the world are ya’ll doing here?  Ha!  They told me that they are on a little vacation and had been in Monterey for a few days.  The story about the Valentine’s is:  They were in our church in Texarkana for the whole 20 1/2 years we was there.  Their two girls, Bridget and Tiffany are the same age as our two “kids”.  We helped each other raise our kids.  Been through many happy times and sad and rough times together.  Many more happy than the others. 🙂  It was so good to see them for a little while today.

I thank God for friends that last a lifetime!  I’m thankful that the Lord allowed these two couples who mean so much to me to have stopped by in these two weekends.  Hmmmm…I kind of wonder who might show up next week? 🙂

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Here’s Proof

Here’s Proof that the Groom should

 

not be allowed to pick out

 

the wedding cake. 🙂

 

Wedding Cake 1

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The Home Missions Retreat was held in the beautiful city of Santa Rosa this year.  Pastor Chadwick and Heidi King were tremendous hosts.  They are both so kind and have a heart after God.  Their church, The Promise Center, was so gracious and welcomed us with open arms.  My hat is off to this beautiful couple and their congregation. 

Bro. Danny Hood from Denver, Colorado delivered the evening messages and did an incredible job.  Of course, I am never disappointed when I hear Bro. Hood minister.

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There are really no words in the English language to describe the Western District UPCI Ladies Conference of 2009.  We had record attendance and record Spirit.  As we entered into the first service, you could already feel the excitement. 

I was asked a few months back to be the Praise and Worship Leader for the conference.  I accepted and knew it would be a big task.  However, with much prayer and practice my team of musicians and singers graced the platform.  When we began to sing our first song, “Glorify His Name”,  I knew all the practices and prayers were going to pay off. 🙂  “Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving.  Enter His courts with praise.  This is the day He has given.  Come on and bless His Name.  From the platform to the door.  From the ceiling all the way down to the floor.  Come on Judah, sing Hallelujah.  Let everything with breath shout to the Lord”.  And from there we sang and worshipped our way into the presence of God.  Then we got to Friday Night and experienced “FREEDOM”  in the Holy Ghost.  WOW!

Debbie Saiz and Donna Linville were extra anointed it seemed.  God just has a way of ministering to so many different needs in one setting.  I am always in awe of how He works. 

I want to give a huge thank you to Laquita Mulling’s and all the ladies team for your incredible work for this conference.  You guys are phenomenal.  It is because of your hard work and working together like you do that we had such a great conference.  I love you all and am looking forward to working with you. 

Major kudos are going out to my praise team today,

Singers: Amanda Silveira, Cassandra Silveira, Teresa Sarria, Tena Valenti, Patricia Hurst, Mindy Ybarra. 

Musicians:  Luis Lenzi (keys), Nathaniel Hurst (drums), Todd Valenti (bass), Kyle Valenti (electric guitar), Omar Iboa (acoustic guitar). 

Thank you all so much for being faithful to extra practices and for your attitude of praise and worship to the King of kings as you played and sang for the conference. You guys are the BEST.  All your praying and fasting paid off.  I love you all.

Last, but definitely NOT Least:  Danelle Layne Silveira.  I really don’t know how to say thank you.  You was my right arm at this ladies conference.  The anointing that you sang with was unbelievable.  I was blessed to have you by my side at this conference.  I  am proud that you are my daughter.  I thank God that you serve Him with your whole heart, mind and strength.   I love you!

ladies conf 2009 Leading in Worship

Ladies Conf 2009 23 Whew!

ladies conf 2009 3 “FREEDOM”

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We are home from Western District Ladies Conference.  What a time!  What a time!  What a time!  I will be posting more about it later.  Just wanted to say howdy and hope everything is going well in your world today.  Blessings!

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I know some of you have read this before, but read it again.  You will be smiling by the time you get to the end. 🙂
 
GOD  vs. Science
A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, “Let me explain the problem science has with religion.” The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
  
“You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?”
“Yes sir,” the student says.
  
“So you believe in God?”
“Absolutely”.
  
“Is God good?”

“Sure! God’s good.”
  
“Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?”
“Yes.”
  
“Are you good or evil?”
“The Bible says I’m evil.”
  
The professor grins knowingly. “Aha! The Bible!” He considers for a moment. “Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?”
  
“Yes sir, I would.”
  
“So you’re good…!”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
  
“But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.”
  
The student does not answer, so the professor continues. “He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?”
  
The student remains silent.
  
“No, you can’t, can you?” the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.
  
“Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?”
“Er…yes,” the student says.
  
“Is Satan good?”
The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. “No.”
  
“Then where does Satan come from?”
The student falters. “From God”
  
“That’s right.. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?”
“Yes, sir.”
  
“Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?”
  
“Yes.”
  
“So who created evil?” The professor continued, “If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.”
  
Again, the student has no answer. “Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?”
  
The student squirms on his feet. “Yes.”
  
“So who created them?”
  
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. “Who created them?” There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. “Tell me,” he continues onto another student. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?”
  
The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. “Yes, professor, I do.”
  
The old man stops pacing. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?”
  
“No sir. I’ve never seen Him.”
  
“Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?”
“No, sir, I have not.”
  
“Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?”
  
“No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”
“Yet you still believe in him?”
“Yes.”
  
“According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?”
  
“Nothing,” the student replies. “I only have my faith.”
“Yes, faith,” the professor repeats. “And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.” 
  
At the back of the room another student stands quietly for a moment before asking a question of His own. “Professor, is there such thing as heat?”
  
“Yes,” the professor replies. “There’s heat.”
  
“And is there such a thing as cold?”
“Yes, son, there’s cold too.”
“No sir, there isn’t.”
  
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. “You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’.  We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees.”
  
“Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.”
  
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
  
“What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?”
  
“Yes,” the professor replies without hesitation. “What is night if it isn’t darkness?”
  
“You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word.”
  
“In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?”
  
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. “So what point are you making, young man?”
  
“Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.”
  
The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. “Flawed? Can you explain how?”
  
“You are working on the premise of duality,” the student explains. “You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.”
  
“It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.”
  
“Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?”
  
“If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.”
  
“Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?”
  
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.
  
“Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?”
  
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.
  
“To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.”
  
The student looks around the room. “Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?” The class breaks out into laughter.
  
“Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelled the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.”
  
“So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?”
  
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.
  
Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. “I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.”
  
“Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,” the student continues. “Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?”
  
Now uncertain, the professor responds, “Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”
  
To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself.
Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”
  
The professor sat down.

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Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I am “addicted” to feeling the presence of the Lord.  There is no place I would rather be than in His presence.  I love going to church.  I love good preaching.  I love conferences where I can gather with people of like precious Faith.  I LOVE to feel the presence of God.  Yesterday was one of those days that was phenomenol.  It started in choir practice as we were practicing the song,  “When I Speak Your Name”.  We were going along singing and making sure all the parts were right and the music together when all of a sudden the Holy Ghost came over me like a MIGHTY wave.  I could not help myself, hands went up, tears began to flow and I began to speak in a beautiful unknown tongue.  As I worshipped I was oblivious to what was going on with the choir.  Then all of sudden, there was no longer singing and I heard the most beautiful worship coming from their voices.  Praise and adoration to the one that bears that most beautiful name, Jesus.  Even though I have felt the Lord’s presence of late in a powerful way in different services and conference meetings, it’s been awhile since I was taken over by the presence of God in this manner.  It is more than wonderful.  When we had all finished worshipping I said, “THIS is what makes serving God so beautiful”.   He knows exactly what we need, when we need it.  We went on into Sunday School and then into our worship service, and as we began to sing that song, the same spirit we had felt in practice began to flow in the congregation.  Many were blessed and received what they needed to make it yet another day.  I always wonder during times of refreshing like this what eternity will reveal.  What did the Lord do in the few minutes that the congregation worshipped Him with all their heart, mind, soul and strenghth.  It will be interesting to find out.

Be Blessed!

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