Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Virtual Pew News #15, The Golden Compass & Thanksgiving

Verse to ponder:

1st Peter 4:8 - (8) Most important of all, you must sincerely love each other, because love wipes away many sins.

The Virtual Pew News

A lot has been going on in the last few weeks and I am aware that some think The Virtual Pew has either taken a hiatus or is out of commission. Let me assure you, neither is true, in fact, God has been good and a lot of things are happening that will strengthen The Virtual Pew.

The Golden Compass, One Christians Anti-Protest

This is one of the most controversial articles I have done in some time; well it is at least controversial to some. As many may have heard, The Golden Compass is a movie that is based off the series of books written by Philip Pullman. Pullman, a self professed atheist has written what many consider to be an antagonist piece of fantasy for a child which is an atheistic version of The Chronicles of Narnia. In this series of books, children ultimately find a way to kill their God. Many Christians are up in arms about the movie. While some are warning others about the contents of the movie, others are planning protests. I wrote a response piece to the movie with some research and a challenge to all Christians. I have had hundreds of responses, and so far, only 5 individuals who are upset with the article I wrote. I challenge you to read the article at one of two web sites, as both of them have started garnishing comments from readers. If you have heard the hoopla, seen the emails, or read the article, the perspective I take is one you should also be aware of. This movie opens in December and I am grateful that my response has made its way around the globe. I have heard literally from all around the world with several individuals telling me they are responding to the emails they get about this movie, with this article. My prayer is that God will use it and cause at least Christians to think.

Click this link to see the article, as a reminder, a link to the other website here at The Virtual Pew is provided on the MySpace Link. Make sure you visit both links to see, and or leave comments.

My New Move

As many may or may not know, I no longer live in Derby, Kansas. Many are aware of the issues with my son, and our concerns regarding this community. While we love the community, we wanted a house that would allow us to offer something different not only for our son, but our family. I was in the process of interviewing at various locations around the country and there was a possibility that The Virtual Pew would close down or be greatly changed. I wasn’t sure about what would ultimately happen until just recently, (more about that later.) Long story made short, we are in Clearwater, Kansas, a community just to the south of Wichita. My son has gone from being at a school with 2,500 students to one just under 500 students. A huge change and he is already doing nicely. I love our house, an underground house with acreage. We will have the option to look at buying the house with an option, or a flat out purchase after our lease runs out. Right now I am looking forward to a horse, some chickens and the like. The work of The Virtual Pew will actually continue in the Wichita area and around the globe.

Our Income Concerns

Many of our prayers have been answered regarding income concerns for The Virtual Pew. After my last request I got substantial gifts that allowed us to catch up on areas we were behind, including some salary concerns. The ministry needs the giving to continue. We are at the time of year that giving is critical. Bottom line is it costs to provide this ministry. I am also sending out with this an attached copy of our giving brochure. I challenge you to look at that, read it, and give accordingly.

While I have picked up some additional income and am exploring others to help with the ministry needs, it is simple; we still need your support. One of the things that Lord has provided, if you are faithful in giving, is more direct ministry assistance to others, and the possibility that if the giving would continue as it has over the last year, with a slight increase, we may be able to bring on someone at least part time, plus provide the assistance to others. What types of assistance might you be asking?

Over the last year, my salary from The Virtual Pew was around $10,000, that’s it and that includes officiating wrestling, income from donations, announcing football games and so forth. In other words, I had to do outside work which is still ministry related for that money. As you can tell, this isn’t a large income. We also continued to provide ministry to those in need, drug addicts needing help, the homeless needing assistance, or ministry to the wrestling community, especially youth.

Direct expenditures for The Virtual Pew, just in the last month and a half include:
Computer and office expenses - $150
Direct assistance to those in the wrestling community in need of help from food, to USA Cards, to Scholarships - $450 (Note larger than usual because the start of the season)
Gifts to those in need - $750 (Note on this note, this included approximately 25 people directly, and two of those was early Christmas needs, one lady came to me in tears, thanking me for the reality that her family was now going to have Christmas.)
Additional expenses i.e. auto, etc…, - $275

Again, a larger than usual month for expenses, but I am grateful we had the money to provide the needs. Currently The Virtual Pew has a whopping $4 in our bank account. We have the Christmas season approaching and hope to do more beyond what we have already done to assist others.

Hope for the future

As mentioned above, we need you to continue in your support for The Virtual Pew. I have picked up an additional job with a wonderful ministry that will allow me to do several things, provide better for my family, (note this doesn’t take care of The Virtual Pew Ministry needs) plus learn from a wonderful man and ministry that will make my ministry, the ministry of The Virtual Pew, and the work God wants us to do be more effective. While this job is far below what I have made in the past, it will give some stability, plus benefits which will help. Again, some have told me to be careful about sharing this information because they believe it will keep people from giving in the future. I believe in the ability of The Holy Spirit to do his work. He will inspire those that can, and need to give, to give.

On this subject, I am excited to learn from a well established ministry, with a national appeal. I have already been observing the leader of this ministry and the wonderful man of God he is. I am blessed to be around Christians, and once the training process is over, The Virtual Pew will be back to full force. One of the things I am blessed about is that virtually no time from The Virtual Pew will be lost. In fact, there will be times that while working for this organization; I can do Virtual Pew work, whether that is writing, research, counseling and/or more. As we say in the Church; “God is Good!” “All the Time!” More about this ministry, and the work in the future.

A Thanksgiving Experience

I still just consider myself a regular guy, in fact a poor ol’ dumb street kid saved by a wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ. I am amazed at how when I continue to be faithful in the little things, God continues to be faithful in all of the big things. This month is a wonderful example of that.

I have had wonderful experiences with my family. Yesterday was my 28th wedding anniversary. For those who know Mary Jane, you know of the strongest part of my spirit. I have a wonderful wife who has stood behind this ministry for so many years now. I have two wonderful children, a daughter who has excelled beyond my wildest dreams, a son who has a bright future, and extended family, like a wonderful son in law who celebrates his birthday tomorrow on Thanksgiving. A new hope for continued ministry and the reality of being able to learn from a man I greatly admire. Life is good because God is good. What more could I have? What more could I be thankful for? Well, much more, like the wonderful friends who have supported The Virtual Pew and this ministry over the years. There is a future and there is a hope. A future and hope provided for by the blood of a Savior who was so willing to die on the cross.

I am grateful for those who believe in what we have done, are doing, and will be doing in the future. The internet radio shows, The Virtual Pew Live and HJ Live have already been seeing a good response. As those ministries grow we look at additional ministry directly focused over the course of the next year. I know God has a great deal of blessings in store, not just for us, but those who support us, and especially those who need us.

Thanks for all you have done, thanks for all you are doing, and all you will be doing in the future. The Virtual Pew lives because of you, and because of the fact that God is good, all the time!

Click on the following video to see the celebrity version of Thanksgiving, if the video don't appear, just click on the link:

Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

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Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information
The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

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