How Many Blessings Do You Want?

The audio link for the main sermon from Sunday 13th April 2014 titled “How Many Blessings Do You Want?”

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Psalm 24:3-5

2014 Wisconsin District Minister’s Conference

Written for submission to our district newsletter.

The Wisconsin District Minister’s Conference is an opportunity for the pastors and ministers of Wisconsin to gather together. It is a time of fellowship, business, spiritual refreshing and ensuring that we are all in unity and seeking the same vision for our state.

Still cold outside at the Osthoff

Still cold outside at the Osthoff

While the temperatures outside were the typical cold days of late March, the spiritual temperature inside was nice and toasty. Rev. Raymond Woodward, Executive Presbyter for Canada, was our officiant for the business meetings and the primary speaker.

Bro. Raymond Woodward

Bro. Raymond Woodward

Bro. Woodward preached all three services during the conference. He spoke on “Embracing the Vision”, “When in Trouble Plead the Blood” and “The Mantle”. There is no way to describe these messages in just a few words, so I strongly encourage you to buy the DVDs from Bro. Jacobs at Media Missions.

Bishop John E. Putnam

Bishop John E. Putnam

During the Wednesday morning business meeting, Bro. John E. Putnam was re-elected as District Superintendent. Bro. M.W. Rogers was re-elected as Global Missions Director. Bro. Geoff Albertson was elected as Sunday School Director with Bro. Dustin Owens elected as Sunday School Secretary. Bro. Tim Vik was re-elected as Youth Ministries Director. Sis. Barb Hilderbrand was re-elected as Ladies Ministry Director. Bro. Scott Jacobs was re-elected as Media Missions Director. Bro. Tony Tamel was elected as the Appeals Council representative.

Bro. Tim Vik

Bro. Tim Vik

Bro. Tony Tamel

Bro. Tony Tamel

Bro. Geoff Albertson

Bro. Geoff Albertson

Bro. Dustin Owens

Bro. Dustin Owens

Bro. M.W. Rogers

Bro. M.W. Rogers

Bro. Scott Jacobs

Bro. Scott Jacobs

Thursday morning saw the ratification of board appointed positions. The following were all ratified by the membership: Bro. Steve Rogers for Men’s Ministry. Bro. Craig Lundt for District News. Bro. Mike Hook for Revival Commission. Sis. Darlene Boyt for Music Ministry. Bro. Rich Thomas for North American Missions Secretary. Bro. John D. Putnam for Purpose Institute. Bro. Ernest Martinez for Spanish Ministry. Bro. Aaron Soto for Young Ministers Coordinator.

My favorite fact from the conference was that world wide, our organization reports for the past year an average of 299 people baptized in Jesus name and an average of 363 people receiving the Holy Ghost every single day.

Sis. Putnam and the General Manager of the Osthoff

Sis. Putnam and the General Manager of the Osthoff

My favorite report from the conference was that the General Manager of the Osthoff Resort, where we meet, was filled with the Holy Ghost during the final service.

Wash, Cook, Clean and Iron

Back when I was a lad, my mother would tell me that she would not allow me to leave home until I knew how to wash, cook, clean and iron. And she made good on her word. When I left home at the tender age of 19 to head off for Radiography school I was equipped to operate in the real world … or at least not starve to death and have clean clothes.

At the school (we lived in the upper floors and had lessons on the ground floor) I was one of only two guys and the other guy would take his laundry home every weekend for his mom to do. I washed mine on weekday evenings and cooked for myself and did my washing up afterwards. The female students were very impressed! I look back and am very thankful for my parent’s wisdom in this preparation they gave me.

In the kitchen, I could cook rice and pasta and a number of different meats. I knew a couple of sauces to go with them and knew not to overcook vegetables during preparation. One time, I even got fancy and bought fresh fish and figured out how to grill it and even remembered to season it with dill. It was good. And for a party I made cupcakes. They were very well received.

I knew how to clean because I was on the cleaning rota at home. I could clean a toilet to my mother’s satisfaction, which was a very high bar to clear. After that, cleaning the kitchen was easy and vacuuming a piece of cake. I washed windows, moped the kitchen floor and even dusted when I absolutely had to. (I still don’t like dusting.)

Laundry, for a guy, is pretty straight forward. In fact I still do most of my own laundry. Although, my wife declines to let me wash any of her delicate articles of clothing after seeing my manly laundry style with my own clothes.

Most ironing I do not enjoy, but I can do it. Thankfully with dry-cleaning and wrinkle-free shirts I don’t have that much to do these days, but I can do it. My father was in the British Royal Navy and he taught me to iron, so I can iron a pretty good dress shirt if I say so myself.

Recently I got to thinking about preparing my children to leave the nest. My daughters are 14 and 12. Peter has a while before he’s ready to leave. But the countdown is on for the girls. Not that I want them to leave, but I know that eventually they will, so my duty as a parent is to prepare them for that time. One way we do this is to include them in household activities. They accompany us to the grocery store. They help during meal preparation. They have recently begun to help their mother with laundry. No decision has yet been made on who gets to teach them how to iron!

And while these are good personal basics, perhaps there are other skills I need to make sure they have. Basic sewing is good, because it’s important to know how to sew on buttons if they come off. Driving is important, not just an automatic as most people drive in the U.S., but I believe that being able to handle a stick shift is important to bring your driving skills to the next level. Creating a budget and keeping your finances in order. Being technology savvy and knowing how to use a computer efficiently. Shooting a gun, handling knives and a little self-defense skill is good too. Reading a map.

But how else can I prepare them for life? Ensure that they have read a wide range of the classics? They’re both doing well with learning to play the piano. A good understanding of mathematics is helpful in many aspects of life. A good understanding of biblical doctrine will serve them sell and keep them saved.

Or maybe, I should just get a poster with that Heinlein quote printed on it? You know, that quote:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

I’d be very pleased if they could do most of that.

Chaplain Level 2 Training

Written for submission to our district newsletter.

As a follow-up from last year, the good folks at the Pentecostals of Sheboygan County in Sheboygan Falls, WI hosted another chaplaincy training class. Pastor John D. Putnam in conjunction with Purpose Institute, organized two classes: Level 1 and Level 2. I attended the Level 1 class last year, so this year I took the Level 2 training.

A chaplain is a minister or trained lay representative, attached to a secular institution for the purpose of facilitating spiritual care. Institutions that typically retain chaplains are hospitals, nursing homes, law enforcement and fire, large companies, prisons and jails. Chaplains may also be found at the state level and even at the federal level of government.

Bro. Sidney Poe

Bro. Sidney Poe

Our training this year was again provided by Bro. Sidney Poe, the Education Director of the UPCI Department of Chaplaincy. Additional training was provided by Bro. William Dillon, the founder and Division Commander of the Department of Chaplaincy. A presentation on Prison Chaplaincy was given by Bro. Dustin Owens. The format of the Level 2 class was Friday evening and Saturday daytime. Lots of time sitting on metal folding chairs, but absolutely worth it!

Bro. William Dillon

Bro. William Dillon

The Level 1 class is more of an introduction to chaplaincy and covers a wide range of subjects to enable the student to begin basic chaplaincy after the class. The Level 2 is more of a deep dive into fewer subjects, but each important for the chaplain as they advance in their duties.

Bro. Poe spent a lot of time covering the core values of a chaplain. This led into further teaching on professionalism and ethics within the chaplaincy. A panel discussion on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was very useful and led nicely into training by Bro. Dillon about Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).

The Level 2 Class (minus the humble photographer)

The Level 2 Class (minus the humble photographer)

If you are interested in chaplaincy or are even just wondering if chaplaincy would be a good ministry for you, then I recommend attending a Level 1 class. Pastor Putnam has not yet arranged any dates for further classes, but I’m sure they’ll be advertised when finalized. While you are waiting, feel free to visit the UPCI Department of Chaplaincy website (Occupational Chaplains of America) at http://ocachaplains.com/

The University Of The Kitchen Sink

I graduated from Plymouth University in 1990 and rejoiced that I would never have to take another exam ever again. In case you couldn’t tell, I don’t like exams. I am not well suited for exams. And frankly, I don’t think that exams like me either. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have taken a couple of tests, but only for really important things like citizenship of the United States, my driving license and my ministerial license.) In terms of academic qualifications I have abstained from taking any examinations. (Again, in the matter of full disclosure, I did consider a masters degree in computer science, but I realized that I knew all that and did not wish to take exams to prove that I know what I already knew.)

Yet, while I dislike exams, I love learning. I love learning about many wide and varied subjects. (Full disclosure time again: technology, lots of technology!) I read books like a fish goes through water and watch educational videos with delight. I had never really given it much thought and certainly had not considered that there was a discernible pattern in all of this. But then I got to thinking about when I did much of this.

One of my habits is to help with the kitchen cleanup on a Sunday evening. Everything in a pastor’s house builds up towards service on Sunday and many tasks and activities get left undone the closer it gets to Sunday. Then Sunday arrives, we have service and after the sacred Sunday afternoon nap, we play catchup and clean and tidy. I have developed a habit, perhaps an addiction by now, of listening to TED talks while washing up. Naturally, this is the source of my title for this post.

If you are not familiar with TED, they are conferences where speakers address issues connected with Technology, Entertainment or Design. (Hence the name TED.) These talks are generally less than 20 minutes long and are delivered by experts in their field. Many of the talks are absolutely fascinating. (Sadly, some are pure liberal gibberish, warning of global warming, the perils of capitalism and distinctly anti-Christianity, but these are fairly easy to spot and avoid.) When you’re up to your elbows in soap suds, they are a great way to occupy your brain and emerge knowing more than you started with. Here’s one of my favorite TED talks … on classical music no less:

Still in the realm of video, there are many great documentaries available on Youtube. It might feel like Youtube is just full of clips of silly stuff, but if you dig around under the surface, you’ll find some gems. I’ve watched documentaries on the Second World War, the American Civil War and many other conflicts. Documentaries on airplanes and ships. And even a full series of episodes on World history and Chemistry. And I’m now working my way through Biology. All excellent stuff. Here’s a link to the first episode of that Chemistry class from the always interesting guys at Crash Course:

If high school (senior school for anyone reading this from Great Britain) seems long ago, you can work on bringing it all back to the front of your mind again with Khan Academy. This is an online resource that provides a complete curriculum for many subjects. They started with mathematics and have expanded to offer other subjects. As I help my oldest daughter with her math studies, I recently figured that getting back up to speed on my math using Khan Academy would be useful. To this end, I decided to start at the beginning and work forward from there. I have completed fourth grade math and am currently 96% completed with fifth grade. My progress is pretty good, but I must admit my speed for large long division problems will never earn me a medal if it ever becomes an Olympic event.

And if these learning resources don’t meet your needs, I am delighted to inform you that several American universities make their full course work available online. You don’t get the huge students loans or the diploma when you complete the work, but you do get the information. And at the end of the day, that’s the important thing.

So, welcome to the University of the Kitchen Sink. Dive in and learn some stuff!

Mid-Winter Camp South 2014

Written for submission to our district newsletter.

Mid-Winter Camp is a Wisconsin tradition. What other state would schedule piping-hot Holy Ghost filled services at the coldest time of the year? And would any other state have them packed out so much that they had to split the camp into two separate venues and then pack them out again so that they had to split into three venues? I don’t know if any other states in our organization do this, but I know that we do and we love it!

The Wisconsin District Music Team

The Wisconsin District Music Team

I was delighted to able to attend both evening services at Mid-Winter Camp South this year. Both services were powerful and dynamic, with great worship music and singing and conference level preaching by the two guest speakers. Mid-Winter Camp South is hosted by Pastor Tony Tamel and the good folks of Parkway Apostolic Church in Oak Creek, WI.

Bishop John Putnam

Bishop John Putnam

Thursday night brought Bro. Tim Zuniga, who pastors a church in Tennessee, to the pulpit. Bro. Zuniga preached “The high cost of being a savior” out of Luke 14:25-28. I will refrain from giving you a full summary of the sermon, but a few sound-bites should whet your appetite and you can always buy the DVD from Media Missions.

Bro. Tim Zuniga

Bro. Tim Zuniga

  • “You have to go, but you don’t have to come back.” – Motto of the Life Saving Service.
  • The enemy wants you to die in your problems.
  • There are no clean sinners any more.
  • Rescuers are passionate.
  • You can’t be all in with a question mark in your heart.
  • Learn to carry more than your own weight.

    Bro. Zuniga praying with people at the altar

    Bro. Zuniga praying with people at the altar

Friday night was the turn of Bro. Stan Gleason. Bro. Gleason pastors in Kansas City, Missouri and is one of two Assistant Superintendents of the UPCI. Bro. Gleason is also an alumni of the Wisconsin district, having his first pastorate here. His message for the camp was “Your local church, the hope of the world” out of Acts 1:1-8. Again, a few sound-bites to give you a flavor of the message.

Bro. Stan Gleason

Bro. Stan Gleason

  • “If God is your partner, make big plans!” – D.L. Moody
  • God wants us in the deep end.
  • The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity!

    Bro. Gleason singing in a quartet

    Bro. Gleason singing in a quartet

If you’ve ever attended a Mid-Winter Camp, then you’ll know how good it is. If you haven’t, then you’ve missed some excellent apostolic worship and preaching and you should strongly consider contacting Media Missions to buy the DVDs.