What is a Cyber Minister?

wayno_cbc

People have often asked. Just what are you?

To use a phrase coined by Pastor Dave Hart from Sanctuary San Diego: I am a Cyber Minister. I have been performing ministry over the Internet, for over 20 years.

A lot of my ministry is on-line using a computer, mouse, a keyboard and the Linux operating system. (Thanks Joe.) Why a particular operating system? Linux is what’s called a free open source system (FOSS.) For me FOSS isn’t just a philosophy, it is a way of life. It has a level of transparency and openness that permeates my entire life.

Whether it’s moderating a Facebook group for Christian Goth Kids, Blogging, emailing, instant messaging, etc, you will find most of what I do, on the Internet.

An on-line presence, allows me to focus on here and now. To pray with people, and touch their lives in the present, rather then waiting for snail mail, a phone call, or Sunday services. The need is now. I can pray now.

I am part of a larger community. An on-line community of believers that expands to the outermost recesses of our tiny orb, called Earth.

Come. Join me in this new 21st century adventure.

God NEVER promised a Disneyland

hope

I encounter people who seem to have the notion that once they become a Christian, all will be “well with their soul” as the hymn declares.

Life presents us with difficult challenges and tough decisions. But Disneyland? God never promised this to me! What do we do when the scorching heat of the barren desert experiences comes vaulting into our life? It might be the loss of a job. A sudden lingering illness. The loss of a loved one. Where is God when it hurts so much, I can not make it through another minute? The rescue helicopter is in the distance, but it just flew over once again. They never saw the shouting and furious hand waving. Did God abandon me in the desert to die alone and frightened? There seems to be, no hope. And yet even in the darkest of times, God provides just enough shade for us to make through the next moment.

1 Kings 19 is a natural backdrop. Let’s back up for a moment. In the previous chapter, the prophet Elijah had just called down fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice. In chapter 19, we find the prophet alone in the desert, running from those that would kill him. He was ready to die. Did you notice something? God does NOT scold Elijah for being depressed. God simply asked: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God did NOT remove him from the desert. Instead Elijah found a broom tree (chapter 19:4) and sat under it. God provided just enough shade for the prophet to make it through the next moment.

In the desert experiences, faith is refined and proven. God did NOT remove Elijah to an oasis. God does NOT bring us to Disneyland in the midst of a trial. God provided a broom tree, just barely enough shade, to be out of the scorching heat for the moment. Too often we want to escape the seemingly never ending desert experiences. Remember God is with us, even in the desert. Chuck Swindoll said: “Remember past victories. They will sustain us when the negative tide of emotion enters our life from time to time.”

All of us have to come to grips with “the problem of pain” as C.S. Lewis so aptly stated. Does suffering have value? Life is not always a joy. It isn’t always wonderful. It is often times painful.

As Larry O. Richard said: “This may be one of the most important values of suffering. If life on earth were a constant joy, why would we fix our hope fully on the grace to be brought to us at Jesus’ return? If life on earth were without difficulty, how would we remain sensitive to our need for God? If life on earth were without trials or persecution how would we be forced to choose between commitment to Christ, and comfort or ease? As Peter said, suffering does have value. It reveals the genuineness of our faith, and brings praise to the Lord.”

We are called to be a broom tree and provide shade to a weary world.


“Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in our soul.
and sings the tune without words,
and never stops at all.”

– Emily Dickinson

George’s Bakery (in National City, Ca) Legendary Lemon Snow Cake returns

georges_lemon_snow

For me, this was the cake I had on my 16th birthday. It was the cake to have. Many pleasant childhood memories. Thanks Gene!

from Alma

Hi All!

This is just a note of clarification regarding the new “Little George’s” Bakery (Formerly George’s Wonderful World of Cakes in National City). Please read carefully.

Gene Bartlett is the longtime owner and baker. He is ONLY making Lemon Snow Cake ($15), Brownies ($10 dozen), and Strawberry Pie ($12). The new place is very small and at this time does not have plans to make anything else.

He is using the finest quality ingredients and the master recipes from the old bakery. He has over 50 years of experience and each item tastes as wonderful as you will remember!

This is not a storefront business. If you are interested in the Lemon Snow Cake, Brownies, or Strawberry pies, you must call ahead and make an order at (619) 477-9369. The new bakery is in Bonita, but I will not post the address here as it is in a residential area. When you call to make your order, Mr. Bartlett will give you the time and address for pick up.

As before, George’s is closed on Saturdays.

We are currently working on a web site with online ordering through PayPal. At this time he is ONLY doing local orders, no shipping out or deliveries.

Connecting to the Disconnected

beforeitsnews.com

 
In a world where even the sparest population has a connection to the internet, there are literally billions of people, who remain disconnected. Not technologically, but socially. Few see the disconnect of the disabled person and spirituality.

In the United States alone, 1 in 5 people fall into some category of being disabled. (disabilitystatistics.org)

Sensory disability (blindness or deafness)
Physical disability (movement impairment)
Mental disability (learning, remembering, concentrating)
Social disability (Autism/Aspergers)

Let that sink in. 1 in 5. 20% of the population of the United States are disabled. Can an on-line ministry bring people together? Let’s explore opportunities that may be next door, or down the street. Those who are shut-in due to one of the disabilities above. How do you minister to a person whose mind is sharp, but whose body does not function? Often we think of special needs. This caters primarily to children. But what about the adult who has suffered a traumatic brain injury or a devastating stroke, that has left them without the ability to communicate? The brain works. The body does not. We may look at someone, and say: “Oh! Special needs,” and lump them in with the children.

Parents with a severely autistic child. It might be just the 2 parents, and a child. Going out is impossible. Where are they going to find a baby sitter? Where are they going to go in public, where people don’t judge or make snide comments behind their back? Where can they go to be with God on their schedule? Their world is just home and work. No social contact with the outside. They need spiritual nourishment as well. Why can’t an on-line ministry serve the needs of this community?

Those of us on the Autism/Aspergers spectrum find social encounters to be awkward, un-inviting and painful. An on-line ministry allows us to be as connected to the world as we want, or to remain as anonymous as we need sometimes.

An on-line church experience is NOT the first thing the pops to mind. There is a disconnect between these people, and an on-line ministry. I am in a retirement village. Everyone here is over the age of 55. Some of the people I encounter are well into their 90‘s. Many can not get out of their home. Elderly and forgotten. How do you reach these people? Nothing will ever replace the care and compassion of the human element. We can minister to physical needs, but do we stop and consider the spiritual component? Why not connect them to an on-line community, where people can worship, meet and be spiritually infused 24/7/365?

On-line church allows people who are the most disconnected from society, to be part of a transforming life experience and enjoy the fellowship and simple joy of being connected to the rest of the world. Begin to point people in the direction of an on-line community of fellow believers.

There are many that are unable to be a part of a brick and mortar church. An on-line community awaits. All of us need to invest time in making a human and a spiritual connection to others, and begin to break the barriers of loneliness and spiritual isolation.

onlinechurch_fronts

not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:25 NIV)

When I say I am a Christian

I am a Christian

When I say that “I am a Christian,” I am not shouting that “I am clean living.” I’m whispering “I was lost but now I’m found and forgiven.

When I say “I am a Christian,” I don’t speak of this with pride. I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say “I am a Christian,” I’m not try to be strong. I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say “I am a Christian,” I am not bragging of success. I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say “I am a Christian,” I’m not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far to visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say “I am a Christian,” I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say “I am a Christian,” I’m not holier then thou. I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s grace, somehow!

–Anonymous