Sunday, September 30, 2007

Share the wealth

I know about small churches. The church in the town where I grew up was a one room rural church where everyone knew everyone. The church where I first accepted Christ was a middle school gym converted for church services in Palo Cedro California fittingly named "Little Country Church" I think the congregation was about 50 or so. Fast forward about twenty five years and I was back in a school gymnasium, only this time in Granite Bay California where a small but growing church was really reaching out to its community. Bayside church is now in the 5 digit numbers as far as the congregation goes with church plants sprouting all over the Sacramento area.

When we moved from Sacramento to Esparto I missed the thriving church life I had experienced in such a dynamic, spirit filled place like Bayside and Pastor Ray Johnston. I looked at a few churches in our area, Woodland, Davis and the small Presbyterian church here in Esparto. I will admit I was spoiled and although I met some great people and heard the message of the Lord's good news preached in many ways, I didn't feel at truly at home until I walked through the doors at Bayside Woodland last year.

I sometimes feel like a church snob, we don't attend our home town church, we go into 'town' on Sundays. It's not that I don't like the people or the Pastor, when I have a scheduling conflict, I will attend my hometown church, Countryside Community Church and listen to Pastor Pamela give a wonderful sermon.

This past April I was at the Thrive conference at Bayside in Granite Bay and I ran into Pastor Pam after one of the general sessions where Lincoln Brewster played and we started talking about contemporary worship music in church. She explained that her church would love to have a worship group play, even if it was for just one Sunday service. I am not a musician by any stretch of the imagination, but I know that our church has about nine people who play guitar and rotate through our worship team and said I would ask around and see if I could work something out.

I started asking around after the summer vacation season quieted down, I found three people who agreed to come out one Sunday and play an acoustic/electric guitar set for Pastor Pam's church. When you have a thriving church you have many talented people who are willing to step up to help out, and they stepped up in a big way. These folks, like most most worship musicians are part of the youth ministry also and they asked my son if he wanted to play in the group. He agreed and for the past two weeks he put down the rock and roll songbooks to practice his worship music.

Everyone showed up at my house this morning at 7:30 for one last run through and breakfast, which was late. (sorry)

We set up, did sound check and the ran through the program with Pastor Pam. The sound of guitars and voices filling the sanctuary was sweet indeed. Three great songs plus a great message from Pam about the second chances offered by Jesus equaled a wonderful service this morning.

The Lord was lifted up in song and praise. A small church looking for a spiritual lift found it. Four people took a half a day out of their lives to give back to the Lord through music. We are already talking about next month. Thank you to the team, Becky, Josh, Tim and Steven. You walk the walk and I am forever grateful.

Do you go to a small or medium size church? Do you attend a large church? Do you attend a mega-church? Is your church a place for community outreach or is it a club reserved for members only?

Reach out, not only to the unchurched but also keep an eye out for a small church who could use a little lift. Give back. Even its one person and a guitar or piano or a microphone for you to sing the praises of God.

Share the wealth.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Guns & Roses, Sammy Hagar and Metallica

What do they have in common?

I just bought them all, again.

The Guns and Roses Greatest Hits is G&R as it should be, Slash wailing on his goldtop Les Paul and Axle screeching and growling. C'mon kids, play nice and get back together.

Sammy Hagar is the first rock concert I remember going to. I have been a fan of the red rocker since he sang on top of his red Trans Am on stage at the Redding Civil Auditorium many, many moons ago. Nothing fancy, not a lot depth in the lyrics, just some old fashioned three chord progression rock and roll. Whats wrong with that?

Metallica is a group it took a while for me to warm up to. I saw them as part of 'Day on the green" at the Oakland Colosseum back in the mid 80s and to tell the truth I wasn't impressed. The sound system was terrible for the speed metal they played back then, it just all turned to white noise in an outdoor venue. But I did see them with Cliff on bass. My son is discovering the early Metallica stuff, fast, aggressive and right in your face. Whada you lookin at cupcake?

I know I am supposed to be a cowboy and stick with country and nothing but country music, but when I dropped the needle on the first Van Halen album, I was hooked. I still love Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Marty Robbins, but sometimes you just want to beat on the steering wheel of your car, banging your head and rocking a safe manner with you seat belt on and your hands at ten and two, never exceeding the speed limit.

I hope the folks at church don't read my blog, I may have some explaining to do.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Video blogging

Oh my, you folks may just be in trouble. I am now in possession of a webcam. I am not sure the internet is ready for a video blogging cowboy. I am not sure I am ready for primetime myself.
( the sound of me pondering)

I'll get back to you on this.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I need to be on another board or committee like I need a lecture on peace from Ahmadinejad.

I'm sorry but I can't.

I must practice this phrase until it becomes my default answer when asked if I can help out. I am so bleepin busy right now with all the organizations I belong to, the church I attend, as well as the kids sports and music, I need to schedule a time for my emotional breakdown. I think I can fit it in between small group Bible study and the next Cattleman's meeting. Maybe.

I guess its better than being an angry and bitter cynic. I could fill my time going to 'die-ins' or march at the '9/11 was an inside job' rally, but I guess I don't have that much irrational hatred built up inside just yet. Maybe if I spent my time watching Keith Olberman and reading Paul Krugman that would start me in the right direction. Throw in some Sean Penn, and Al Gore speeches and I could be down at the Capitol lobbying for a full blown retreat from Iraq, free health care, as well as a driver's licenses and Toyota Prius for every trans-gendered Illegal alien who signs up.

Or not.

I think I may just need a few good nights of sleep, and a relaxing evening at home tormenting the cat with my guitar.

Good night now.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Welcome Sacramento Bee readers

You never know what kind of post will interest people.

Like many bloggers I write what I live. Cattle battles are usually messy and somewhat amusing, that is if your safely on the other side of a wooden fence from the battle. I have friends who just want to come along and watch me get trampled or kicked in a tender area, they think its quite entertaining.

Sort of like a rural version of MTV's Jackass, only with a less bleeped-out audio track.

Well, sometime there is some 'sailor language' if I do kicked in the wrong area.

But on some rare occasions, things go just right, and you have to stop and give thanks for those times too.

Thanks for coming by.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mark your calenders folks

November 3rd is only 6 weeks away and we all know how fast our schedules get filled with all kinds of things, family, church, sports, we can find ourself with little free time in a hurry. What is going in Yolo County on November 3rd that deserves my attention you might ask?

It the Yolo County Cattleman's and Wool Growers Association's annual fall dinner-dance. We hold a few events every year, our spring members BBQ, our fall informational tour and my favorite, the fall dinner dance.

The dinner is a rib-eye steak with all the trimmings, hey were talking cattle ranchers here, what did you think we would serve, chicken? When dinner winds down we have a raffle of donated prizes from our supporters and members. There are definitely some great items you could walk away with, artwork, wine baskets, gift certificates and such. When the raffle is over and the new directors have been announced its social hour, or hours in this case.

Its a great chance to meet with new people, touch base with old friends and have a great time. I'll just let you know up front the the dancing part has been declining the past few years and I would like to see that change. Some of the younger kids will get out there and dance and if your standing too close to the dance floor you might get dragged out there. What can I say, we have a few characters in our association. I am one of them.

If you want tickets, email me at "info'at'yccwga'dot'com" I'll get an invitation sent out pronto.
We would like to have a head count by October 20th so we are bumping the price to those who do not RSVP by that date.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mammas don't let your babies grow up to Bluetooth

I am amending certain statements I have make about myself on this blog. I have made it a point to tell you all how painfully uh-hip I am, now that I have a teenager at home.

No more, don't get the wrong idea, I still have the teenager, its just that I am so darn hip now that I can hardly contain my coolness. Not only do I have a iPod, laptop, Fender Guitar, I know what tray drifting is, and now I can send my Mp3 ringtones to other people's cell phones using Bluetooth on my new Nokia 6126.
What other ring tones do you have? my son asks.

Do you want the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Guns and Roses, I reply.

I better stop before I use up all my coolness tonight and go back to being the painfully un-hip guy I usually am.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Holly thunderstorms Batman

I know its getting close to October, but wasn't it 100 degrees a few weeks ago?

The first rain of the year fell in Esparto this afternoon ushered in by the dark gray tones of the gathering thunderstorms. We had close to a 1/4 " of rain at our place in a half hour and the horses were not impressed one little bit.

The rain is ok, the flash of the lightening makes the horses feel like Paris Hilton on the red carpet and the thunder was like being at a Judas Priest concert. Not that I ever take my horses to metal concerts, at $75 a ticket, it would get awfully expensive, plus you would have to sit in the general admission seats. I'm more of a ten rows back, speakers blowing your hair back kind of concert goer, well at least I used to be.

When you get home, and its pouring rain, you suddenly remember all the things you left outside that really should be outside.

Oh well, I love the smell of rain, I think I'll go sit out on the front porch and take it in.

I just know I'm going to get slapped today

By one of my co workers after a few hours of this....

Its' Talk like a pirate day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Don't chem me bro!

From the frighteningly stupid rant of a fever swamp student to the raise the hair on the back of your neck frightening real world.

Syria and Iran, two of the largest state sponsors of terror are working together to put WMDs on Scud missiles. The Israeli air attack into Syria must have been a strike at the effort. No one in Israel is talking about it, that must mean it's a deadly serious issue.
Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in a Jane's Defence Weekly report that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria.

According to the report, cited by Channel 10, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas.

I wonder where Syria, a Baathist dictatorship just like Saddam's dictatorship, came into possession of Sarin nerve gas?

Don't Taze me bro!

Oh, by all means, taze him.

Watch the video.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What a Croc.

Hmm, soft souled shoes with ribbed souls can get caught on escalators? Oh my goodness, something must be done! Call for congressional hearings, bring the CEO of Crocs to the hill and swear him in, what did he know and when did he know it? Lives are at risk people.

Stop wearing Crocs!

Besides, you look like dork when you wear them anyway.

Ever just get the feeling things are going too good?

Welcome Sacramento Bee readers!

Cows are malicious animals. Devious and cunning are just a few characteristics that make up the bovine. Oh sure, they look peaceful and docile as they eat grass and chew their cud, but don't let this fool you, a more clever adversary you will not soon encounter. I know many of their tricks, I have the scars to prove it.

So it came as a shock to me when I went out to gather my cattle and sort the calves to be shipped to the sale yard, that the cows followed behind my four wheeler in an orderly fashion. I brought my saddle just in case it became a little 'western' but I though I might just be able to get them in the corral with the quad. The cows jogged along behind me trying to get at the flake of alfalfa I had on the back of the quad and I led them down the road to the corral.

My wife and and her friends came down the road just as I was putting them in the gate. "That was easy" my wife said.

Don't say that, were not done yet, was my reply.

So with the help of my son and my wife's friends we sorted the cows and small calves back out the gate and had a goose neck trailer load of weaned calves left in the pen.

"That was easy" my wife said once more.

Yea, but were not done yet, I again reminded her.

We put the calves in the trailer and I headed to Galt bound for the Cattleman's Livestock Auction in Galt.

I kept thinking to myself that since the loading and sorting went so smoothly that we were sure to have some calamity happen on the freeways, a flat tire, an accident or the devious cows picking lock on the trailer door to bail out onto highway 99. When we pulled into the auction yard, I couldn't believe nothing had happened.

Surely on the way home through the downtown interchanges with all the freeways jammed with folks coming back from their weekends we would find our disaster. Nope. I did have one jackass in a black Chrysler 300 cut me off and nearly take off my front bumper so he could make his off ramp, but nothing else.

When I made it back to the ranch to pick up my quad I met my wife.

I said, "That went easy"

Friday, September 14, 2007

OK ladies, time to be sneaky.

Hey honey, can we go see Ruthie Bolton Hollyfield, the two time WNBA all star and Sacramento Monarch speak this Sunday? It's here in Woodland.

(Grumble, grumble) Sunday is my day to watch football babe, why don't you go by yourself.

C'mon, the season just started, the Raiders stink this year anyway, just come down to the cafeteria at Pioneer High School at 10:45, we'll be done by noon and you can get some chips and salsa at Bel Air across the street and be back in time for the afternoon game.

How much are tickets?


Ok, hun, if you really want to.

Little does he know that he is going to be greeted with some great contemporary music, a bunch of smiling, friendly people, some Starbuks coffee and powerful message from a talented speaker.

Where is all this happening?

Bayside Woodland, the church for folks who don't like 'church'.

( this message is not the view of Bayside Woodland, they probably wouldn't approve of being sneaky to get your spouse to church. I on the other hand have been known to be downright devious, it something I am working on, but if it gets your lazy butt to church, I'm ok with that)

Christian Musician Summit in Sacramento

Well, Granite Bay to be exact. Our parent church, Bayside of Granite Bay will be hosting the Christian Musician Summit on Friday and Saturday the 21st and 22nd of September. My son and I will be attending and we are getting pretty exited.

The two day musician's summit is broken down into a few sessions each day with many to choose from. Its a hands on conference with some great musicians, worship leaders, pastors and tech folks all there to get you started, brush up on your technique, or put a little more polish on a worship team thats been together for years.

I may check out a songwriting class and definitely the beginner's acoustic guitar session, my son want to take his new Gibson SG to the electric guitar classes.

I am an absolute newbie at this and I'm sure it will be like drinking from a fire hose, but I hope to come back with some practical techniques and since it will be held at Bayside, I'm sure the message will be great as well.

If you are a worship musician in the Sacramento area, you really should check it out.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Holly cow, what have I got myself into!

Or better yet, what has my mother-in-law got me into?

At the last church service my mother-in-law was moved to volunteer our small group Bible study for the task of cooking a pre-game meal for the High School Football team. We just received word that the would love to have us cook a meal for them,,,,tomorrow at 3:45. Spaghetti and salad for 50!

As Steve Irwin would say, Crikey!

So I will try to ask for an early time off tomorrow and I hope we haven't jumped in over our heads. It wouldn't be the first time, but serving the Lord should be messy and a little crazy. If it goes smooth and requires little effort, where is the service in that?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sherman attacks Esparto?

Coming home today I saw a huge plume of billowing smoke coming from the town of Esparto. At one point I could see the tips of the flames licking the pink tones of the sun setting sky. The flames must be reaching sixty to eighty feet because the tree tops of town are that high. I felt like Scarlet O' Hara watching Atlanta burn, except my home was not in danger and I don't look good in a corset and bustle.

Hmm, the smoke was gray and not black, a tell tale sign of a structure fire, so I came home and grabbed the camera to see what was going on. As I was driving, I thought it must be either a haystack fire or a dry grass fire on the north side of Esparto. It was grass fire, although it did burn right up to the edge of town.

The fire department was on scene and seemed to have things well in hand. Half the town was walking down the streets to see what the commotion was all about, the other half couldn't have been far behind, we don't have much entertainment here in Esparto so anything that even seems the least bit exiting is a well attended event.

It almost looked like a control burn, I saw a firefighter tossing a lit road flare into an area that was burning, so it may have been a little offensive/defensive type of drill. You can't burn what is already blackened right?

So Esparto is still standing, at least the part that hasn't fallen down yet, and the locals were treated to a evening of flashing lights and the smell of dry grass meeting its demise. I wonder if the Cache Creek Casino patrons even noticed as they sped past on the way to part with their money?

Vladimir Putin dissolves Russian Government

So tell me again how Putin differs from Kim Il Sung?

President Vladimir Putin dissolved Russia's government Wednesday in a major political shakeup ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections, the Kremlin said.

The dissolution is expected to result in a new prime minister, who will be seen as Putin's choice to succeed him after he steps down next spring.
On the bright side, he isn't naming himself ruler for life.

I'll bet the left in this country still thinks Cheney and Bush are much worse, but then again, the fever swamp can do strange things to your mind.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

You want a flying car?

I got you're flying car right here.

Maybe this will stop the Cache Creek Casino players from pulling into my driveway asking directions to the casino at 2:30 am....
One can only hope.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sometimes its good to be dirty

One of the things I enjoying doing but I don't do enough is ATV riding with my son. This Saturday we brought along one of his friends and went up to ride at Cisco Grove. I have driven the Sierra Trek trail from the Eagle lakes side in my Jeep my times but I haven't driven in from the Cisco Grove side. We stopped at the Cisco Grove Campground and paid $5 for their day use parking lot and unloaded the quads. They also rent new Polaris 800 two seat quads for $275 a day I think.

About a mile into the trip up FS Road 82 we ran into a gentleman from the US Forrest Service, he motioned us over to the side of the road. He was checking for green stickers on our quads, I won't get into the details, but lets just say, if you pay for the darn things, put them on your quad! This was the first time my quad has been on public property in ten years. Off we went.

After a few miles of rough trails we came to the top of the hill just under the radio towers.

We continued down the trail to Fordyce lake and played around, climbing hills, crossing the dry lake beds and having a good time. The trails are steep and full off loose rocks the size of your head and if you have a stock pickup, you may get down to the lake, but good luck getting back up the hills. There were a few four wheel drives down at the lake and we may have seen a dozen quad and dirt bike riders that day, so the trail was not crowded. I hear the labor day weekend was a zoo. There have been 7 serious accidents with quads and dirt bikes on the tails in the last two years, all from riders coming around corners too fast and hitting another rider head on. If you have race quad and feel the need to try out for the Crusty's Dirt Demons show, head to Prairie City OHV park and race your heart out, these trials are for 15 mile an hour site seeing and families.

We had been riding for three hours or so and when I check the fuel level in my son's Quadsport 250, it was half full, we decided to head back. We checked out Lake Sterling on the way back from the trail above, because I took a wrong turn, but it looked full and beautiful. We stopped at the Campground store where we had a snack and I decided to wash up, my son wanted his ice cream first.

Nice face huh?

We leaded up the quads on the trailer and headed down the hill. Five hours of rough trail riding is plenty for my 42 year old body, but I think the young guys were feeling it too.

All in all, a great day.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

al-Qaida, Osama and the PR machine

So the world's most famous cave dweller is going on the tube? I gotta see this.

If it's safe for Dr. Zawahiri to make a professional quality video, shot in a studio somewhere, why haven't we seen anything more than a grainy and somewhat dubious video of OBL in 2004. I guess I could be proven wrong in the next two weeks, but until I see Osama bin Laden holding the Sunday New York Times, I'm not buying it. If your still alive and not dead as disco in some rockpile in Afghanistan it would be an easy thing to prove.

If OBL is alive and kicking, why not say "today is September 11, 2007 and last week President Bush was in Iraq to greet his invasion forces in Al Anbar, Death to America and General Petraeus can eat my shorts"

Who are you fooling with these tapes from years ago?

PS if you haven't seen the al Qaida Musical Jihad 2, check it out.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Chuck Schumer, way, way over the line.

Everyone knows Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. It is usually a toss up between Chuck and Joe Biden as to which is the biggest blow hard, today, there is no contest.
The violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from al Qaeda, said to these tribes: "We have to fight al Qaeda ourselves.
Schumer just slammed the soldiers who have fought and died in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. Nice.

Is there anyone who still thinks Senator Schumer and Harry Reid are rooting for a US military victory in Iraq? They want bad news, they want to point out the administration's mistakes at every turn. Good news coming out of Iraq is pure poison to anti-war democrats like Schumer.

If you want to take cheap shots at the president and his policies to make partisan points with the nutroots, be my guest, the President can always take his case to the people. Slandering US military troops serving in a forward area is absolutely disgusting.

I have a question. Where is Virginia Senator Jim Webb on this? His son is a Marine serving in Ramadi, deep inside Al Anbar. His son had a close call while serving there, are he and the men in his unit failures? Acording to Chuck Schumer they are.

Senator Schumer needs to apologize, and quick.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Half time

Turning 40 a few years ago has changed my thinking in many ways. I realize that I probably have more birthdays behind me than I have in front of me. This is my half time. Time to look back and reflect, look at at my present to make some honest assessments and finally to plan for the future.

I came across 2 Timothy 4:6-8 today and wondered what it must feel like to face death with this thought.
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day...
Wow. What peace of mind.

If I were to die tomorrow, I think a summation of my life might be;
I really wanted to do so much more to make a difference in my family and community for Jesus Christ, but I failed. I wanted to act, when I should have acted, I was silent, when I should have spoken, I focused on this world, instead of focusing on eternity. I failed my family, my friends and most importantly, my Lord.

That may not be a very pretty picture, but it's pretty damn accurate.

I have been tugged in many directions lately. Work, family, activities of all sorts. The one thing I have not made time for in my daily life is carving out some time with God. Sure I go to church, and I am starting up our small group this month after taking the summer off, but I have not made an appointment with God to discuss what I am doing and what he wants from me.

I am reading a book great right now by Becky Tirabassi called "Let prayer change your life" about her commitment to pray one hour a day and how that has changed everything in her life. Pray one hour a day? Me?

I am lucky to spend one hour a month in prayer. My prayer life consists of a few minutes at church, a few minutes at our small groups, I try to find some time in the car driving to work in the morning when I am alone on the highway, but I haven't sat down in a quiet room and spoke with God in a long time.

Maybe that is why I am struggling in my ministry efforts. I have a lot of ideas and well intentioned plans to invite people to church, to our Bible study, work on our men's ministry efforts or just to work on maintenance projects at church, but I am struggling to follow up on all these things. I really want to do them, I just let all the distractions of this world take me away from my ministry efforts. That has to change. I am checking things off my list one by one, but I could sure use some help.

If you feel at all inclined, take a minute right now and pray for me, take fifteen seconds to ask the Lord to guide me and strengthen me. He knows what I need, better than I do.

Thanks in advance.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day, time to build fence

The only thing I remember about Labor Day as a kid was the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. We had three television channels growing up, one of them being the local PBS station, so on Labor Day there was either Jerry or Days of our lives to watch. Yea, I watched a lot of jugglers and bad animal acts on Labor Day.

Today we have 500 channels of tv, the internet, digital music and a vast array of ways to entertain ourselves. I also have a lot of work to do, so today I will fire up another technological marvel and entertain myself. I will be taking the portable welder out to the field and welding pipe for my corner posts.

Have a glass of lemonade and relax, its Labor day.