Thursday, May 28, 2009

Outlawing Home Bible Studies????

Couple: County Trying To Stop Home Bible Studies

POSTED: 5:31 pm PDT May 25, 2009
UPDATED: 1:45 pm PDT May 28, 2009

SAN DIEGO -- A local pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a San Diego County official, who then threatened them with escalating fines if they continued to hold Bible studies in their home, 10News reported.

Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.

"The county asked, 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say amen?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say praise the Lord?' 'Yes.'"

The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.

Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed "unlawful use of land" and told them to "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit" -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"For churches and religious assemblies there's big parking concerns, there's environmental impact concerns when you have hundreds or thousands of people gathering. But this is a different situation, and we believe that the application of the religious assembly principles to this Bible study is certainly misplaced," said Broyles.

News of the case has rapidly spread across Internet blogs and has spurred various reactions.

Broyles said his clients have asked to stay anonymous until they give the county a demand letter that states by enforcing this regulation the county is violating their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion.

Broyles also said this case has broader implications.

"If the county thinks they can shut down groups of 10 or 15 Christians meeting in a home, what about people who meet regularly at home for poker night? What about people who meet for Tupperware parties? What about people who are meeting to watch baseball games on a regular basis and support the Chargers?" Broyles asked.

Broyles and his clients plan to give the County their demand letter this week.

If the County refuses to release the pastor and his wife from obtaining the permit, they will consider a lawsuit in federal court.

A Birthday Tribute To My Wife

A very special Happy Birthday to my lovely bride!

Loves Jesus & loves me! (In that order as well!) & I love her more than words can tell

I'm so thankful to God for blessing me with her, she is the best!

I know this will embarrass her, but sometimes that is what I do best:

My Theme Song For Lynn:

Observation: Raising Kids

I had a random thought about raising kids the other day...remember when you were younger and thought you had all the answers and solutions to life's greatest issues?

Why is it that every 20 year old, unmarried, guy thinks he know everything about raising kids? Why is it that he believes its his duty to express this great depth of knowledge to every married couple with kids?

Raising your kids may very well be the toughest job that a married couple will ever undertake. The brutal truth is that this stage of life passes in a flash.

I know right now, that everyone who is in the meat grinder of raising their kids is thinking ... "You've got to be kidding me! This feels like it will never be over!"

Let me try to explain...When our babies are born we have all kinds of dreams and expectations for them, plans for their lives that we have carefully thought through. But as they grow, we come to realize that they are just like their Mom's & Dad's. Self-willed, I do what I do because I want what I want, little curmudgeons that would rather throw a fit in Wal-Mart than anything else.

I know those days are hard, we walked through them just as every parent has, but, there is hope! These day will not last forever! I think the key is for Mom & Dad to keep their focus on pleasing and glorifying God. Yes, even in raising and disciplining our kids.

Here's the deal...No matter what the subject, our goals must remain fixed! Our goal should never be our own happiness, comfort or satisfaction. Those things are fleeting. When focused on what we want, we will almost always be disappointed; when focused on pleasing God and bringing glory to Him, His blessings are incredible.

Follow hard after God, read the Bible, His instruction manual for all area's of life and strive to please Him in EVERY area of your life.

At least that's the way I see it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend 2009

Memorial Day weekend really began for me on Friday as I had the opportunity to drive students from the Ventura elementary school to Algona, Iowa to visit the POW Camp Museum. I have know for some time that there was a POW camp in the Algona area but never took much notice of it or spent anytime looking into it. That changed on Friday!

From the "Algona P.W. Camp" site: "German prisoners were in Algona and its branch system from early 1944 to January of 1946. During that time about 10,000 German PWs moved through our system. The 34 camps in the Algona system had a significant impact on the economy of the communities and their surrounding areas. The value of the work done by the German prisoners in the 4 state area was estimated at $3,500,000."

This was again a reminder of the incredible times in which my Dad served his country. No, my Dad was not involved with the camp in Algona, but, part of that museum were many displays of what life was like for anyone involved in the service of our country. It made me once again realize the sacrifices made so we could enjoy the freedoms that we celebrated this weekend.

Sunday morning we had a Memorial Day service in which we recognized all of the Veterans in attendance. Following the recognition time, I brought a message about things we need to remember to be thankful for: from our vets & hero's, to our salvation, to our walk with God. It was a very emotional service as I talked about my Dad's service and love for this country. A love that he was able to communicate to his children as well as pass on to them!

Before my Dad passed away, one of my sister made sure that he and my Mom were able to go to Washington DC and see the new National WWII Memorial. I know that trip meant so much to Mom & Dad. I'm thankful for my Dad passing along his love and passion for this country to his children.

Memorial Day Monday was a day filled with remembering and family.

I got up just before 6 AM and went for a 3 mile walk. I spent a great deal of that time reflecting on just how blessed I am because of the sacrifices made on my behalf by others. What an incredible time!

Daniel, Maggie, Elijah, Amy, and a friend of mine Morgan Bush all arrive late Sunday afternoon and were able to spend all of Monday here in Clear Lake. As usual, our church had a picnic at the home of the Stephenson's in Ventura. Great food, great fellowship, great weather...What A Great Day!!! We are truly blessed!

I trust that you spent some time this weekend thinking about those who sacrificed so greatly that you might enjoy so much!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Friday, May 22, 2009

Track is Over, Our Anniversary & A New Bike

OK - Here's the deal.....I set a goal for myself this year, to post 10 times on my blog per month. Well, that ship has sailed!

But I want to say that my life rocks! I'm busy like everyone else but truly I am blessed!

Over the past few weeks I have been to an average of 4 high school track meets a week! Susan is running the 1600 (1 mile) and throwing the shot put! I am so proud of Susan, she works so hard. She did very well in the early part of the season and then took off about a week and a half to attend some meetings and a conference. Her times were never as good at the end of the season as they were in the beginning, but the cool part is that she NEVER quit! My baby girl is the best!

OK,OK,OK...item number 2 - Lynn and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary yesterday. Supper out together and then some bike riding on trails around Mason City. Once again I know that I'm truly blessed! How else could a dork like me find such a wonderful woman to spend my life with unless God were to intervene. I'm so thankful for my wife, who is a blessing from God!

For our anniversary, Lynn bought me a new bike. A Raleigh Detour 4.5, a very nice bike for my workout regimen which includes walking, biking and a standard workout program. We picked it up yesterday afternoon and I took a quick 1 mile jaunt just to make sure I understood how to run through the gears and get used to the brakes. After our supper out, Lynn & I headed out to East Park in Mason City to try out some bike trails. We rode around the park and looked for the bike path that runs along the Winnebago River. Alas, no matter where we looked, we could not find the right path! Such is my fortune from time to time. But the great part is, this afternoon I found out that a friend of ours know all the bike paths and we're going biking as soon as the weather gets right! Oh, BTW, Lynn and I got up this morning and took a cool 10 mile ride through Clear Lake and Ventura. I'm lovin' that new bike! Thanks Lynn!

I've got so much more to tell you but that is enough for now.........

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dr. David Little

Our church had the opportunity to have Dr. David Little ministering to us this past Sunday.

Dr. Little is the president of Baptist Church Planters, located in Cleveland, Ohio. We have been friends for quite a while as we've been pheasant hunting together here in North Iowa.

Dr. Little has a passion for church growth through evangelism and growing healthy churches through solid biblical teaching. He passions were quite evident as he spoke challenging us to seek opportunities to share Christ with others and continue to remain faithful to biblical preaching.

I'm thankful not just for Dr. Little's ministry this past Sunday but for his friendship as well. We had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together to be able to chat about ministry, current trend in Christianity and our own spiritual growth and development.

I'm so very thankful for the spiritual leaders God see fit to bring into my life! Good friend, great minister, wonderful day!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Adventurland Rally!!!

Yesterday was the annual state wide youth rally at the Adventureland theme park in Altoona, Iowa.

What an incredible day! There were over 900 in attendance from all over the state of Iowa and even a few came over from Nebraska! Our speaker for the day was Pastor Pat Odle, campus Pastor/Chaplin at Faith Baptist Bible College. Pastor Odle brought a stirring message from Luke 16 on the Rich Man and Lazarus. Hearts were truly challenged as about 15 teens received God free gift of salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to see people come in to a new relationship with God through Jesus and know that when their lives are completed, they will be with their heavenly father for all of eternity!

Following the rally the teens and sponsors are able to enjoy the park for the rest of the day. As usual, my day was spent walking around visiting with folks, but I did find time to ride a few of the roller coasters. I'm a huge fan of the roller coasters!

One of my favorite events of the Spring!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Another Long Week

Just wanted to stop by and let you know that I'm still around. Just another long week of playing catch up from being out of the office and town for almost a week and a half.

While I was away, I attended the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches annual conference held at teh Walnut Ridge Baptist Church in Waterloo, Iowa. This was a conference that I was in charge of putting together and hopefully making run very smooth. I have not gotten a chance to look at the conference evaluation yet, but I trust everyone enjoyed themselves and felt that the time spent at the conference was a blessing.

Our theme for the conference was "The Church: Prophetically and Practically", our speakers were Dr. Renald Showers for the church prophetically, and Dr. David Little for the church practically. Both of these men did a wonderful job of rightly dividing the Word of God and bringing a very challenging messages.

The music was incredible good as lead by my very good friend Pastor Mike Augsburger from the Willow Creek Baptist Church in West Des Moines, Iowa. Mike and his lovely wive Liz have been working with me on the annual conference for almost six years. I really enjoy the opportunity to work with Mike & Liz, my heart is always blessed by their ministry.

Overall, I think that it was a good conference & I'm already looking forward to next year!