Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

I write to you on this Thanksgiving Evening finishing a full day. I have much to be thankful for and today only helps solidify that in my mind. We have had a really good day today as I was pleasantly surprised to be visited by one of my good friends who I went to school with out at Amazing Facts who was on his way down to Chattanooga. The rest of the crowd came over for lunch which included Stephen, Uncle Dave, Grandma, Jonathon Cherne who I have grown up with at Highland and of course me, Mom, and April. Mom and April prepared a tremendous meal which was no surprise. Later in the day my cousin JD came over to visit which it was great to see him as well. Today I am reminded of such a wonderful network of family and friends that I have. I am truly greatful for these people in my life. Though many of us face challenges each and every day in this world that never seems to slow down it is nice to take a day to pause to enjoy good food, fellowship, and most importantly to enjoy the people you are with. I hope all who are reading have had a wonderful Thanksgiving today.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Another sermon in KY

I just finished preaching my 2nd sermon in the last 3 weeks both having been in small churches in Kentucky. Two weeks ago I preached in Ashland, KY where there were maybe 30 people there. Today I preached in Leitchfield, KY which is just north of Mammoth Cave National Park about 2 hours away from where I live. This was another small church with about 20 people there. I would have to say this is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job as I get to go out to some of these rural churches and visit with the members and also give a sermon as well. I give all the glory to God for Him using me to be part of His work. Today I preached on Dan. 5 and paralled the experience of Daniel and Babylon to the end time Babylon and God's people at the end of time. The Lord laid on my heart to share the contrast between the life of Daniel compared to that of literal Babylon and how that parallels to God's people compared to spiritual Babylon. The book Sanctified Life by Ellen White spends alot of time dwelling on the character of Daniel and how his experience and faith is to be ours as well. I have to give thanks to my brother Norman for sharing a message on this topic on Audioverse.org. The title of that sermon is "The Candlestick, The Prophet, and the Fall of Babylon." I used alot of information off of that sermon for my sermon. So Norm, if you are reading this thanks for the help. Ultimately though God deserves all the credit for giving us the words and impressing us with the thoughts to put them forth in words. As I mentioned this has been one of my favorite parts of my job is to get out to the churches and visit with the membership although I never know what to expect when I am going to preach at a church. I have only preached in 4 churches here in KY-TN and 2 churches in the Gulf States Conference but it seems as though every time I go there is always at least one person who not to be demeaning but after a conversation with them just seems a little bit out there. Today I was talking with a man who has put out a whole booklet on the tribulation and believes strange things on the seals and the trumpets. I can remember in Hopkinsville, KY a man cornered me and started talking about time machines and time travel. In Tuscaloosa, AL a woman during prayer request time proceeded to share how she was being attacked by vines and a presence of evil in her dreams at night it was very strange. As I mentioned these are just one time meetings from appearance so I don't know everything in these peoples experience but even from that first encounter you can gather alot of information from a person. The reason I share this with you is that I have found that wherever I go there are people of all sorts of differing personalities. With this being said all of the churches I have visited there are always the solid committed leaders in the church who you can tell hold the ship together. I again come back to the question of unity in the church. It seems hard for me to comprehend how it is possible when there are people of all different kinds in our church. But I suppose this is the beauty of it all. How we as a church can still be united under one banner and one cause is a wonderful thought. How we can all be drawn to the same Saviour who gave His life for us. How we can all be drawn to more fully represent His character in our experience on this earth. All these things bringing people together of differing viewpoints and personalities united under one cause is a mystery but can only be explained by the power of the Holy Spirit. May God continue to guide and lead us individually so that we may be united with others in that unity of purpose of fulfilling His mission.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kentucky

This past weekend I went up to Ashland, KY and preached. This church is about 5 hours away from home and is nestled right up on the Ohio River bordering Ohio and West Virginia. The church is fairly small, there were probably 30 in attendance for my sermon which is ok because I am still getting accustomed to preaching. I thought I had been to the Ashland Church before on a music tour with Highland but I had obviously not been there because I got lost getting to the church on Sabbath morning and I barely made it in time for the service which was first and then Sabbath school was second. As I drove to Ashland on Friday and then returned Sabbath afternoon I was struck by the beauty of Eastern and Central Kentucky. I had not been to many of those parts since I was a student at Highland when we would go on music tours. Of course fall is around the corner so the leaves are starting to turn and this is brought out in its full beauty as you can see this in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. As I went through Lexington yesterday I realized that this is a town I could live in. The rolling hills, the white fences, the horses, all of this made me nostalgic to actually live there. Although I am not sure how I would deal with all of the University of Kentucky fervor. At any rate, if you live around here maybe take a day trip or go camping in to some of these parts as I believe this is some of the most beautiful country in the U.S. If you don't live here and are reading this maybe you should consider moving to Kentucky or Tennessee, it doesn't get a lot better than here:) No bias from my perspective of course. Hope all are doing well that are reading this.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Church and its Challenges

It is Friday, October 12 and I am thankful to have arrived at the end of another long and hard week. The responsibilities and the amount of things that need to be done for my work at the Conference office has not let up and does not seem to be letting up as I am routinely working between 50 to 60 hours a week. We are short staffed in the Treasury Dept. and we are hoping to turn the corner and get caught up but it has been an uphill battle ever since I started this past December as I am still undergoing training and the learning curve. So hopefully in the future when I am more comfortable with my responsibilites the hours will not have to be so long. Although I am spending many hours I still count it a priviledge and a tremendous blessing to be working for the church and ever so grateful to God for His leading. With all this being said it is remarkable to me at how much is going on in the church and the problems that it is facing. I just came from a Bible study tonight at the Highland church, the second largest church in our conference. The study has been going through Dan. 11 the past few weeks and it has been very interesting and insightful but tonight was spent just discussing the problems and challenges that the Highland church is facing. There has been a severe division in the church in regards to worship style and the direction that the church should go. This is not the only church that is having these problems. As I listened to the challenges and trials and the absolute turmoil that this church has been through it becomes very hard and somewhat discouraging to listen to and to contemplate. How as an overall church are we to move forward when there is so much division and disunity. It pains me greatly to see our members struggling with issues of belief. standards, styles of worship, and a host of other things. Again, I must say this is not just at Highland but at other churches as well. I was talking to our Conference Ministerial Director about these issues in our churches. He said something quite meaningful in my estimation which was that the problems that we as a church our facing is not just the surface issues that our glaring such as worship style, standards, etc. The root is the understanding of the salvation process. Are lifestyle issues, reform, standards, victorious living is this all essential in the process of salvation or is it not? This is the crux of the issue. As a result it is seen where sides are being drawn and how divisions are taking place. There are so many issues in the church that it is way beyond the scope of this blog to address them. Which is my point, why do we have to face so many problems when if we as a people could take seriously our message, study it, and live it then I believe so many of these problems would dissappear. I do realize that this is wishful thinking though. So again I must say i write tonight having a feeling of somewhat discouragement to see what is happening amongst our people. I firmly believe though that God is behind this church and is still leading its path. I know not whether the shaking is taking place or not but I do know that we should be living our lives in preperation as if the shaking is occuring and all we can do is earnestly plead for the Spirit in our lives to remove any obstacle in our lives from being like Jesus and being able to receive the outpouting of the latter rain. I am preaching in Ashland, KY next Sabbath and I am not sure if I will use a sermon I have preached before or if I will try to develop more some of the things I have posted tonight. As you can see my thoughts have not been organized as well I would like them to be but I am trying to put into words the feelings of frustration I am experiencing. I will close with a quote from Ellen White from the book Maranatha Chapter 195. Although I know we have not reached the magnitude yet of the seriousness of this quote I look at it with great faith as to how God will still work and lead His church. " Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out--the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths.... The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy. "

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pictures

This is the first time I have posted pictures to my blog. Here are a few pictures from weddings I was in this past summer. I was in 4 weddings this summer. The first two pictures are from Jesse Proctor's wedding out in Loveland, CO. The three of us have been best friends since second grade and continue that today. The rest of my pictures are of course from Norm's wedding.

Jesse Proctor, Me, and Adam Littell




Family Picture




Groomsmen



The Wedding Party



Tim and I







Friday, August 24, 2007

Weddings

Well, I am home in Portland, TN on this Friday night enjoying a restful evening. This is my first weekend home in a month. I have been in 4 weddings this summer as a groomsmen, two of them as best man. The last three weekends were Jesse Proctors's wedding in Loveland, CO, my brother Norman's in Berrien Springs, MI, and a friend of mine from Highland Jason Davis in Chatttanooga, TN. A friend of mine Adam Littell and I did a 4,000 mile road trip between the first two weddings. You could say that I am getting the whole process of a wedding pretty good now. You've got rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, batchelor party, pictures, decorating, take down, etc. I feel like I should be at a wedding this weekend I am almost having withdrawals. But anyways, all of them were great weddings. I especially enjoyed Jesse's and my brother's. Jesse and I had gone to school together since 2nd grade and have been best friends ever since. Norman's wedding was an awesome weekend that culminated in one of the best weddings I have ever been to even though I may be a little bit biased. As I mentioned before we did a 4,000 mile road trip due to the weddings and we were able to see some interesting things. Some of the highlight were stopping in the Black Hills seeing Mount Rushmore. Also stopped in Minneapolis, MN and saw the aftermath of the I-35W bridge collapse. I wouldn't say that was necessarily a highlight but it was pretty incredible to see. I almost feel a stranger to home because the travels continue. I had meetings last week in Atlanta at the Southern Union and in two weeks I have meetings in Corpus Christ, TX. Also, next weekend I am going to see my brother and his new wife Joelle in CA for the Memorial day weekend and will be attending the Southwest Youth Conference which I am looking forward to very much. Anyways, that is a glimpse as to what has been happening. I would like to put some pictures up of some of the weddings. Stay tuned for that.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Operation Global Rain

Just thought I would give a reminder to some or maybe this is new to others. Operation Global rain is starting this week. I am pretty excited about this and I am really enthused that many of our churches in our conference are participating in this. For those of you who don't know, Operation Global rain is a 10 day period where churches throughout the world are invited to all pray for the same thing which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the Latter rain experience. I believe this could be very powerful. I just preached on the Holy Spirit this past weekend in Hopkinsville, KY and as I was preprarng for this sermon I realized there is so much that the Spirit wants to reveal and do through us in our lives. Take a look at 1 Corinthians 2:10-16. Seeing the deep things of God is what the Spirit wants to do through us. I pray that we will be experiencing the power of the Spirit daily in order that we would be ready for that latter rain experience. For more information about Operation Global Rain go to operationglobalrain.com Have a good week.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Campmeeting

I write you all this evening coming back from a powerful night of campmeeting here in the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference. Pastor David Asscherick is here throughout the week giving the main messages throughout the evening. Tonight's message was one of those messages where the heart is pounding and you can really sense that the Holy Spirit is directly speaking to you. For those of you who are reading I am hopeful that you have had that experience, there is nothing comparable to this. I could never do justice to the way the message was presented but I will try to put down some of the main thoughts just because it was so powerful. Alot of what was said is probably not anything new to you who are reading but sometimes the simple message of the gospel presented in a certain way strikes a certain chord. The message dwelt heavily upon the Christian walk otherwise known as sanctification. It was brought out strongly that the walk is not a leap or bound but a process. Prov. 24:16 states that a righteous man falleth 7 times but rises up but a wicked man falls into calamity. The point being that when we sin we contineue to rise up and not give up. Clinging to 1 John 1:9 and confessing our sins. The semon was based upon Luke 5:39. The parable describing how a man when drinking old wine does not immediately want to drink the new wine. The parable illustrates the process of our sanctification. Gradually leaving the old wine behind and partaking of the new wine. The appeal was made to leave the old wine behind whatever that sin might be. He talked about certain sins being committed over and over again and the devil discouragaing us to think that we are not good enough, but we were reminded to keep coming back for the forgiveness of sin. At the end of the message the appeal was also made to believe in the power of Christ. The illustration was made that do we believe that Christ can keep us from sinning for one second, two seconds, a minute, an hour, an eternity. The belief in victory over sin was strongly put forth at the end with the reasoning that Christ came to this earth and showed how to live a sinless life and we are to partake of that power which is Christ in you the hope of glory. An appeal was made for those to come forward who wanted to leave that certain sin that old wine behind. Believing in the forgivess and the blood of Christ and the resources of heaven He is willing to give us to empower us. I really felt the Holy Spirit's presence there tonight. It was such a powerful message. If you get a chance go to our website at www.kytn.net and all of the campmeeting meetings are being streamed live over the internet. The evening meetings with Pastor Asscherick start at 7 p.m. Central Time. I will wrap it up on that note but I just felt I needed to put in words what was mentioned tonight. It is so easy to become discouraged in the Christian walk especially with the devil bombarding you with attacks that you are a failure beccause of sins you commit. But the promises are there that Christ is waiting to offer His forgiveness and His blood to cover our sins but also promises to give the power to attain victory through our Christian walk. May God strengthen you in your walk as you renew your heart to Him daily and die daily to self.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Florida

I am in Orlando, FL for 3 weeks attending training meetings for Trust Services and Estate Planning certification. I am learning quite a bit for sure, alot of things that I never knew was so extensive in this kind of work. It is nice to get away from the usual routine and be in a place where the weather is so nice. I have been able to connect with a good friend of mine from Southern, Ronald Odiyar who was President of Southeast Youth Conference last year. He is now working at Florida Hospital. I am struck by how large things are here. For instance, the main Florida Hospital is massive and they are constructing another tower that will be used as an addition to the hospital. In addition, they have 6 other hospitals or campuses in the central Florida area. Ronald and I went to church today at the Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist church. Derek Morris is the Senior Pastor at this church and to put this into perspective they have 5 services. Granted two of them are for young adults that are not held in the main church but they have a service in the main sanctuary at 8:30, 10 and 11:30. I remember thinking that two services was a big deal at Collegedale when I went to Southern. I am not used to such a large church.
Also, since I have been down here I have had a fair amount of time in my hotel due to the fact that I have to study in order to obtain my certification. In my room as I have paid attention to the news and have been on the internet I have noticed that it has been a rather eventful and yet somber week. Obviously the horrifying experience at Virginia Tech is still somewhat hard to believe. It makes you think that regardless of the measures we take to bolster our security and prevent terrorist activities there is only so much you can do. How can you prepare for a random shooting like this in a classroom? I think of those young people whose lives were taken and it makes me think that many of them were my age. They had a life full of hopes and dreams and a future ahead of them and now it is all gone. How certain are we of tomorrow? The fragility of life is a concept that we should take into consideration as we make our decisions and plans in our lives. I also found it interesting that the day after this experience a professor at our Seminary; Russil Burrill was physically attacked and assaulted at Andrews University, you wonder how bad that could have been.
Finally, I find out yesterday that Amazing Facts and 3ABN are merging into one organization. I feel this could be a powerful union for the spreading of the message and I am very interested in this. Also questions do come to my mind though as to how this all came to be and what transpired to make this arrangement. It seems that 3ABN has faced challenges ever since the crisis with the seperation of Danny and Linda Shelton. I guess I am not going to try and figure out to much about what has happened at 3ABN but I hope this arrangement is effective in further proclaiming the Three Angels Message. So to conclude, alot has been going on in the world and it is always interesting to see what happens. I suppose that my overall conclusion would be is to consider the gift of life and to treasure the opportunities, decisions, and the future with all seriousness because unfortunately the students at Virginia Tech do not have that opportunity anymore.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Grandpa Dittes

My Grandfather passed away today and I just wanted to put a few words in writing about my Grandpa known to many as Dr. Dittes. There is no way I can possibly come close to do justice in describing the life that my Grandfather lived. There are a few things I am certain of though. Grandpa was the rock and foundation of the family and was always steadfast in support of his overall family. He believed in and supported education and I can say that I am ever grateful for his support of me in my education. Grandpa worked in Portland, TN as a physician for 53 years from 1946 to 1998. He was 86 when he retired. In this period of time one cannot begin to describe the countless people that he helped and cared for in this rural community that was in the beginning stages of developing when he began to practice medicine here. Time and time again people would come up to my Grandfather and ask him if he remembered them because he had delivered their baby or he had cared for them in the hospital, office, etc. You can only imagine how many people would come after doing this in a community for 53 years! Today as I pause to think about who my Grandpa really was I cannot help but dwell on how his life was one of caring and helping those around him in his community. Grandpa enjoyed this and loved his work. Although he was at times probably to busy there is no doubt that he loved his work and most importantly enjoyed being there to care for others needs. One must ask the question when their course in this life is finished can they look back and say that their life was one of tireless hours spent helping other people. I realize this is somewhat short but I think that the point is pretty clear. Can we say that we made a difference in the world we now live in, and can we look back and see measurable results. I am thankful that I have seen my Grandfathers life and the mark that he has left. Now it is time to continue that which was done in the past.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Brief Update

The last time I updated this I was living in Montgomey, AL and now I have been working at my new job for a little over a month. The days go by quick. I am an Assistant Treasurer at the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference. In another month the other Assistant Treasurer will be leaving to become the Treasurer of the Washington Conference. So that will leave just me and the Treasurer. You could say I am a tad bit overwhelmed by this prospect but it is one day at a time. It has been interesting to be back in the area where I have lived my whole life other than college and my short stints in California and Alabama. Things have changed but yet there are still alot of similarities. I am happy to be living at home but yet I am in the process of finding the right church to go to. My home church has suffered a major crisis that has left it not in the greatest of shape. Well that is about all, I realize this is short but I figured I should chime in with my monthly update. Until next time.