Oh no! He's a BISHOP now!

My good friend Pastor Travis Johnson (www.pastortrav.blogspot.com) is now an Ordained Bishop in the Church of God (headquartered in Cleveland, Tennessee).

This man is truly amazing....and on many levels.

He was a terrific Single's Pastor at the North Cleveland Church of God (several years ago).

He was a terrific pastor here in the Windy City for a good season.

He has lead the "Life Pointe" Church in Florida now for a while, and God is blessing that work.

He has a wonderful wife, and two beautiful daughters. If you don't believe him...just go to his website and ask him.

Congratulations, Bishop Johnson!

Manifold blessings to you!

"Casa De Grant"---Thanks a million!

I had the most wonderful weekend just passed....

I had the marvelous blessing of traveling some 4 hours (by Amtrak) to central Wisconsin and visit my friends, Paul and Cynthia Grant and their son Jason.

It was wonderful.

Cynthia is the oldest sister of my great friend Kevin Moses (whom I celebrated back in February on his birthday in this very blog), and we have been friends for almost ten years now. Her husband, Paul and I have become good friends over the last two years. I've also known Jason since he was much younger than he is now. He's a strapping 17 year old high schooler.

Paul and Cynthia came to Chicago back in early April to "honeymoon"--since they had never taken an official "honeymoon" in their years of marriage. I was happy to be their "tour" guide sporadically during their four days here in the Windy City.

At that time, these two extended an invitation for me to come visit them in Wisconsin. And I did. It was just fabulous!

I needed to get out of the city for a few days, and get back to the "country side." And since I had never spent any significant time in Wisconsin, this would be the perfect opportunity to do so.

I arrived Friday evening, and was thrilled to see the three of them. Saturday found us hiking and mountain climbing over at Devil's Lake, some 50 miles from Tomah, Wisconsin--where the Grant household lives. It was definitely exhilirating. It has been many moons since I climbed a mountain....and it felt great. The weather cooperated...the people were all friendly, and the view was breath-taking from the very first steps.

And if that wasn't enough, Paul, Jason and myself decided that we needed to stop at the Wisconsin Dells and ride the Roller Coasters for a while.

Now, that was a rush....I've not felt that kind of gravity pull in many, many years. I'm still feeling a little bit of the "gravity" forces I do believe!

After a wonderful meal (and alot of laughs) at the Cracker Barrel, we headed home, and prepared for a good night's rest. And then worship on Sunday at their local church.

Before I jump over into the land of "boring you all silly"--I wanted to take this precious space and thank the three marvelous people in Casa De Grant for such a wonderful weekend. Everything was absolutely perfect.

So Paul, Cynthia, Jason if you are reading this....

Much love, and manifold thanks to all three of you.

It was perfect.

A Pastor...not a "Pope."

With all due respect to my Roman Catholic friends, I want to say some of the things that I have been feeling for a very long time:

1) Men and women who are called into pastoral ministry are called to "shepherds" not Chief Executive Officers. Now admittedly, administrative duties go with these positions in many local churches---but "people" are the business of the Kingdom...not paper work. Not committee meetings, or constant, eternal, unending "planning" sessions.

2) People in the local church want men and women who will be "pastors" not popes. Sadly, I thought I had a "pastor" for three years, and when the rubber met the road last November, I found out that I had been sitting under the authority of a system that regarded the "pastor/shepherd" as the infallible pope of the local congregation. When God calls men and women to be "pastors"--that is the FIRST and FOREMOST task at hand for that particular person.

3) I've been a Christian for the last 38 years of my life. Now I'm 44. I've seen wonderful men and women of God who loved God's sheep, and who were ready to give their lives for those same sheep. Sadly, I've also seen a miserable few who knew "their gravy" was made...and could care less about the sheep in their care.

4) I've been wounded by someone who did not keep their word--and that person was also a "spiritual authority" over me--and it was devastating, on many levels. And to this day, that person professes their great love for me. But their actions speak much louder than their words ever will. And it's been very painful for me.

May God grant to His people those pastors who are after His own heart...and who truly exemplify the power of the Gospel and the Great Shepherd when He said, "No greater love has any man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends..." (John 15:13).

I want a pastor like that.

Do we really understand "relationships"?

It seems like the entire world revolves around "relationships"--of one sort or another....

God(the Original Intelligent Designer) created the Universe--thus establishing that "relationship."

God (the OID) created humanity: males and females--and thus enabling both entities to have meaningful relationships with Himself, and with each other.

We have "relationships" with alot of different entities in our lives:

Colleagues at work
Family Member
Fellow students
Our neighbors where we live
and "the family of God" in our local congregations.

The reason I'm writing this one, is because there seems to be a somewhat disintegration--breakdown--stranglehold...something or another where relationships are concerned.

I wrote a year or more ago that "relationships" in the Kingdom of God are not supposed to be just "utilitarian" vessels through which we accomplish our oft-selfish purposes. From my understanding of the Scriptures, people actually do matter!

I recently (well actually about six months ago) felt it necessary to change my regular place of worship on Sunday mornings (and other times) to a different congregation. It was a very difficult and very painful decision--but also one that had to be made. And the reason: Sour, unhealthy relationships in the old church.

Relationships that were utilitarian, and untrustworthy. Relationships that were not solid, and unreliable.

So now, I'm beginning to do a serious study of the New Testament on what "relationships" should really be like...beginning at the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter one.

What do you think?

230 years later...it's about time!

So the United States Senate has finally decided that "English" needs to be the official, unifying language of these here "Nifty Fifty."

Well, Mergatroid!

What took them so long!

I wonder how those 100 people arrived at the conclusion that "taxpayers" are as mad as mad can get about the absolute arbitrary waste of OUR money on translating every possible government document for people who REFUSE to learn the prevailing language of the law and commerce in this nation.

Just how long did it take for that "revelation" to occur?

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is just DEAD wrong about this amendment being "racist." He's a bright man...and a Mormon at that....he should know better.

Or maybe those people in Nevada aren't having the "illegal" immigrant difficulties the rest of the nation has experienced....but I hardly doubt it.

Make ENGLISH the official language of this country. And make sure that EVERYONE understands that learning the "official language" is a priority here.

Not just a passing thought.

More about "Bobby Moscillo"....

Last week I posted an article about a Marine who was killed in the line of duty in the Middle East. I posted the write-up from the Boston Globe and the Nazarene News Service.

This morning I received this email (it was signed, but the author shall remain anonymous) from someone who read my "blog":

Good evening,

My name is ***********, and I came across your blog as I was searching the internet for articles on Robert Moscillo, the Marine from New Hampshire who was killed recently.

I had the privilege and the honor to be Bobby’s first youth pastor. I wanted to say thank you for paying respects to him in your blog. Bobby touched a lot of people, I knew him when he was young, maybe a freshman or sophomore in high school. I was a rookie, very green and made a lot of mistakes, but Bobby stuck with me and stuck up FOR me.

I spent two years with him as his youth pastor, and I am pretty sure I learned more from him than he could have learned from me.

I would like to pass on a story that I heard today from my best friend from home, I moved away from New England about 3 years ago, so I was not able to be at his funeral yesterday, so he was filling me in on the proceedings.

A story came out about a gentleman that was attending Bobby’s church off and on. The church Bobby went to specializes in helping adults through recovery, this gentleman had come in drunk on two occasions, and each time Bobby had talked with him, worked with him, and simply tried to love him. One Sunday it paid off, the gentleman committed as best as he could to getting his life into shape. Two days later Bobby left for Iraq. The gentleman continued to attend church, and continued to recover. No one thought anything more of Bobby’s involvement, to the general public it looked like he had talked with this man briefly, and had been nice to him.

The gentleman showed up to Bobby’s funeral, and was just devastated, I mean wrecked. The pastor of Bobby’s church, who had been very close to Bobby, went to the gentleman, not really understanding why the man was so hurt and broken up, he had only talked with Bobby maybe once or twice really in his life. The man looked up at the pastor and said the following, “Bobby and I have talked quite a bit actually, he has been writing me every week from Iraq, encouraging me to keep with my recovery, to give my life to God and the church, I don’t know what I am going to do without that kind of support.”

I am humbled by the man that Bobby Moscillo had become.

Please pray for his family, that God will use his passing to glorify His own name. Please pray for all of his friends, and would you please pray for me? I am struggling with a lot of feelings I did not expect.


Not only did Bobby's family lose a son, but that congregation lost a valiant and wonderful saint of God. And it appears that many people have lost a great, great friend.

Let's pray for all of our troops and their families.

Just for my many MOMS....A Special Tribute!

God knew that I would need many, many women to play the role of "Mom" for me in the last 44+ years....and in my small way, I want to honor them here:

My Grandmother Clara Hoover: She's been in Heaven now for almost 14 years. She is the bravest and most courageous woman I've ever known. She raised me when both parents abandoned me, and she had already raised ten children of her own. Having only a 4th grade education herself, she made sure that I had a "world class" education--in all the things that mattered. I miss her so much.

My Grandmother Kathy Fields: She's my only surviving grandparent, and what a treasure she has become to me over the years. I'm proud to be her grandson.

Mrs. Linda Turner: My blessed Fourth Grade Teacher (whom I wrote about a few days ago). This lady just exemplifies all that it means to be a godly, gracious, and good person. She and her husband Larry have raised three wonderful sons who make their parents proud at every thought of them. Linda has been that friend par excellent for more than 30 years now. She was a strong "mother figure" when I really needed one the most. Needless to say (but I'll say it any way) I adore her!

Mrs. Jane Pearson: Everything I know about class, style, good taste, and just "doing it right"--I learned from Ms Jane. Not only was she (and her family) wonderful neighbors, but they all became "my family" when I most needed them to be my family. They have remained in that "sacred place" for me...and I love them all dearly. I learned the important lessons of life from Jane, sitting at her kitchen table. I still enjoy our table talks--but they just aren't frequent enough for me. There is so much to say about her...and I just can't tell it all right now.

Mrs. Tereasa Rollings: This woman has played so many important roles in my life. She has been a teacher, a mentor, a confidant, a consoler, an encourager, an advisor, and most of all, my terrific friend now for more than 30 years. She has played every role SUPERBLY! Every person needs a friend like Tereasa. And I'm glad that I have "mine."

Mrs. Faye Hardin: One of the three women who inspired me to become the musician that I am today--limited though it is. She was the church pianist for many years, always faithful and always tremendously talented. She and her husband Ray are some of the dearest friends that I've ever had. She's been the "mom" for me in many situations when I've needed someone to listen with their ears and their heart.

Mrs. Georgie Timmons: My precious "mom" out in West Texas. She, along with her husband Howard, became dear friends during my Air Force stint in Lubbock, TX. Now almost ten years after my leaving that area, we are still in touch. Georgie has helped pray me through some very difficult and challenging times. Her encouraging words, her heartfelt humor, and her gentle touch continue to refresh and inspire me--and just when I always need it the most.

Mrs. Gail Lemmert: I went to Undergraduate School with her son, Randy more than 20 years ago. She and I became good friends when I returned to Tennessee for graduate school. In so many ways she has encouraged, mentored, exhorted, and instructed me for the better. Her very life is one of tremendous wisdom, instruction, and grace. She is a true "mom" to me in many, many ways. And she isn't aware of most of them.

The wonderful ladies mean the world to me.

I want to wish them all a very "Happy Mothers' Day"

He just wanted to "help people..."

From the Boston Globe, as reported by the Nazarene News Service:

Salem, New Hampshire-(Boston Globe)

After a rocky adolescence, Robert Moscillo found a plan for his life: he wanted to become a pastor, he told family and friends, but first, he would have to attend college. To finance his education, the Salem, New Hampshire resident decided to join the military.

"He said that he found that God really did love him; it was a somewhat difficult thing for him to grasp," said Pastor Dennis M. Scott of Community Bible Fellowship Church of the Nazarene in Manchester. "But he did come to understand that God had a plan for his life."

Lance Corporal Moscillo, 21, who left for Iraq 10 weeks ago, was killed when his Humvee detonated a land mine Tuesday, May 2, his family said.

The Marine's death, which came after years of struggling to find himself, left Scott shaken. The pastor had cared for Moscillo for four years. "It's difficult for me to see this as part of God's plan," Scott said. "But God doesn't always reveal his plan to me."

Moscillo lived with Scott during his high school years, at the request of his mother, a struggling single parent who could not handle her rebellious son, said Scott.

Moscillo "saw it as a new beginning," Scott said.

For four years, Moscillo buckled down, mostly staying out of trouble and performing respectably at Salem High. Following his graduation, Moscillo again felt restless and adrift, Scott said. Again, Moscillo sought out the pastor's assistance and advice, ultimately finding direction and purpose in his spiritual life.

"He came to the point where he decided he needed to settle down and establish some priorities," Scott said. "He felt the Lord had been talking to him about becoming a pastor." Moscillo wanted to attend Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, then seminary, Scott said. The Marines would provide the financial means, but his duty in Iraq was not only an economic tool.

"He appreciated freedom and believed he was going to Iraq to help other people go free," Scott said.

At Camp Pendleton, California, where he went through boot camp, Moscillo was nicknamed "The Chaplain" for pushing his fellow Marines to attend church, his family said. He shipped out to Iraq on February 25. "We would ask him what he was doing over there," Jeffrey said. "He would always just laugh and say, 'I'd rather not get into it.'"

Moscillo leaves his father, Frank of Beverly, and his mother, Donna of Salem, as well as three siblings, Sandra and Joseph of Salem, and David, who is in Marine boot camp.

Scott last saw Moscillo in February, just days before he was to head for the war zone. "We talked about the possibility of his not coming back," Scott said. "And Bob said, 'I want to come back, but if I go to heaven, I'm ready.'"

--Boston Globe (Boston.com)

As a military veteran, this story has made me weep more than once in the last two days. Life is fragile, and we may not be here for very long. Let's pray for all of our troops.

What a life! Dr David Horton goes to Heaven!

Received this email first thing when I arrived at my office today:

Dear Lee University alumni

There is deep sorrow on our campus this morning as we mourn the sudden loss of Dr. David Horton.

Dr. Horton suffered a fatal heart attack last night while in Nassau, Bahamas with his wife Virginia and the members of the Campus Choir. The Hortons and the choir were there for a week-long ministry tour following commencement.

If you attended Lee during the past thirty years -- or even if you didn't -- you know that David had a huge impact on our campus. He has been on our music faculty since the late 1960's, and he and Virginia traveled around the world with Lee students in music ministry.

He invested himself completely in the ministry of the Campus Choir, and was deeply loved by hundreds of students who were part of that group.

At this point (Tuesday morning), we are trying to sort out the details of getting everyone back home to campus, so there is no information yet on services to remember David.

We will send another email when we have information to share. But for now, I wanted you to know that the Lee family around the world has lost a brother and colleague who gave everything he had to Lee students.

Please join all of us here at Lee in prayer for Virginia, their son Jonathan, and the Campus Choir members still in Nassau.

Paul Conn

Needless to say, this was not the way I wanted to greet Tuesday morning at work. Yet, it is true, and my heart is deeply grieved.

I sang in Campus Choir under Dr Horton's direction for two years (1983-85). It was a tremendous learning experience, and a tremendous joy to be part of that group. David Horton had no problem rehearsing until it was "perfect." His love for music was only exceeded by his tremendous love for his wife Virginia and his only son, Jonathan. He supremely loved God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He always worshipped the Saviour.

Dr Horton had the generous and gracious spirit about him, regardless of where you would see him. Many times I can remember sitting in his office, and laughing about some of the wonderful things that happened on Choir tour, or during a rehearsal in the old "Brown Auditorium." I can remember when we encountered the LIVING GOD in those rehearsals....on more than one occasion.

No one could lead a congregation in singing "O Happy Day" like David Horton could. This gentle giant of a man completely embodied what it means to be a "worshipper in Spirit and in truth." More than once he might stop the singing, because he felt impressed of God to personally "speak a word" to someone the Lord would bring to mind.

I'm not sure just what I am feeling right now. I feel like crying, because of the loss that so many of us here on earth are feeling. I feel like rejoicing (even in pain) because David Horton is now safely in that "City whose Builder and Maker is God." I feel like worshipping God, because He allowed this marvelous man to serve Him, and to bless so many people in that same service of Jesus Christ.

For those who may see my blog, please remember his wife Virginia, and their son Jonathan, and all the many students and colleagues of David Horton at Lee University, where he was still teaching at the time of his passing on to glory.

Only what we do for Jesus will count. It's a constant reminder.

Get this Book.....quickly!


Retired pastor and author, J Stephen Conn has written a fascinating memoir entitled "Growing Up Pentecostal"--and it is a marvelous read.

I can't remember when I have laughed so hard, and felt like crying so often as when I was reading Steve's book.

His younger brother, Dr C. Paul Conn is the president of Lee University--of which both the author and myself are alumni.

I remember Conn's mother...and also remember when the Lord took her home to heaven almost ten years ago.

You can purchase this book from Amazon.com, or through Barnes and Noble's website. You can also follow the ordering instructions on Conn's website as well.

It is a truly TREMENDOUS book.

Even if you are not a Pentecostal!

Let me welcome.....

My good friend Joe (and no, I'm not talking about the cup of Java that so many enjoy--this one is a real person.) who told me that he has been reading my blog.

Welcome, and feel free to make comments on any and every thing you read.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for being a real brother, and a real friend.

That means a great deal.

Linda Turner...what a wonderful lady!

Back in 1972, I had to change schools. I had spent the first three years at Riverton School in rural Madison county, and due to some rezoning issues, I would no longer be attending Riverton School.

Now I would be riding the bus to Brownsboro School every day. My fourth grade year would be spent in an entirely new school, with new friends, and a new environment.

I was ready for the challenge.

I remember that first day of fourth grade as though it were yesterday. I walked down to the end of the hall of that small school building, and waiting at the door to greet me was the most beautiful, blonde lady I had ever seen. In the words of many a Southerner, she was just "gawjus..."

She work a lovely pink dress, white shoes, and had her hair pulled back in a pony-tail fashion.

Her name was Mrs Turner. This would be her first year teaching in Alabama, and what a year it would be!

Mrs Turner did many marvelous things during that school year! She introduced me to a new world of "reading"--I remember how she read "Charlotte's Web" to us during our "quiet period" every day for several weeks. I was fascinated by the story then...and am still fascinated by it now.

Mrs. Turner once bribed me to be "quiet"--okay, I was a talker...to put it mildly. She let me have an entire half hour recess if I would just be quiet for a certain period of time. She bought me popcorn, and an ice cream. I do remember that much.

I learned how to do Fractions...or should I say, I learned to be frustrated by "fractions" in Mrs. Turner's fourth grade class.

When my Grandfather Hoover was in the hospital, and was near death, this same wonderful teacher made sure that I had a way to get to school every day. Her generosity in this manner will always be remembered, and appreciated.

When I graduated from high school (1980), Mrs. Turner came to my graduation, and brought her two oldest sons, Matthew and Mark. She even wrote one of the letters of recommendation for me to get into college that fall.

We lost touch for several years, in that her husband Larry was transferred to Europe with his job, and the Turners were off to Deutschland for a long time.

I reconnected with Linda and Larry shortly after I entered the United States Air Force. We have managed to stay in touch ever since. When I moved from California to South Korea, Linda wrote me many precious letters of encouragement--letters that I still have somewhere amidst all the "stuff" in my home.

When I was getting ready to move from South Korea to Norway, Linda was good enough to help me make hotel reservations in New York City during the 18 hours of "layover" I would have in the Big Apple. This was all before "the world wide web" became a common phrase in the households of the world....or even just the United States. She was always supremely helpful in anything that I needed or asked for.

She's just that kind of lady.

My precious Grandmother Hoover departed this life in May 1992. I was stationed in Norway at the time, and was able to get back to Huntsville, Alabama about 10 days before she died. Shortly after my Grandmother's death, Linda contacted me to express her profound sympathies for me. She knew that my Grandmother meant the world to me.

On Thursday, when I went to the funeral home, Linda met me there. She was the first one there, and stayed for a very long time--she knew that I would need her there...But more than that, I knew that I would need her there! What a precious friend!

So fastforward to April 2006.

I had the marvelous privilege of spending an evening with Linda Turner, and her wonderful husband Larry. Her three children are all grown, and spread out all over the world. Her oldest Matt, lives and works in the Tuscaloosa, AL area. Her middle child Mark, is now stationed with the United States Embassy in Bejing, China as a State Department Diplomat. The youngest, Jack lives and works in the Nation's Capitol.

Linda and Larry have a very, very special place in my heart! I have always said that she was the absolute best teacher that I've ever had--bar none. And I still feel that way.

Any child would be honored and blest to have Linda as a teacher, and more importantly as a life-long friend.

This child certainly has been.