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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Based on a true story...


In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4. Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love. Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card and punched out, then left. He looked at her card, BRENDA. He walked out only to see her start walking up the road. The next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible.He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly, she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday. That Saturday night, he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well, let's take the kids with us." She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, who was in a wheelchair. He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome. Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us?" Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first husband and father of her children had done. Kurtis was not ordinary -- he had a different mindset. That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with. A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then, they have added two more kids. So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy at a grocery store in Cedar Falls/Waterloo, IA and Brenda the check-out girl? Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals and has his Cardinals on their way to the Super Bowl. Is this a surprise ending or could you have guessed that he was not an ordinary person? It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. He has also been the NFL's Most Valuable Player twice and the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chatsworth J.V.





I know that many of you will think I'm half crazy... but earlier this year I was asked to help out with the J.V. girls basketball team at Chatsworth High School. I have coached many times in many different places but have never been involved in the PUBLIC school system. I was scheduled to go to India for about 2 weeks and THAT was canceled so I decided to help out with a team that really did NOT have a coach.

As busy as I am, I really did NOT have the time to coach but I so love to teach and I love to be able to share my faith in this arena and so I squeezed one more thing into my hectic life. It has been a JOY to see this team continue to grow and mature as basketball players as well as young adults.

Almost EVERY game we have played I have met people from our church and they are so surprised to see me in the public school but I am so thankful that God has placed me there for this short season so that I might reflect HIS LIGHT and LOVE to them.

Even though in the near future I can't ever imagine doing this again, I certainly have loved the challenges and the opportunity to walk onto so many different High Schools these past few weeks.

JUST IN CASE you are free... Would love to have you come watch us play..... Our next game is today.. at 2:30 pm.. Chatsworth gym. We will be playing Birmingham High School and it is always an adventure watching the Lady Chancellors play.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A word to my Church family

I have debated many times regarding how much I should write, but I wanted to once again thank EVERYONE for their prayers and words of encouragement. We had a court date on Monday, and as I sat in the courtroom, there were so many things that raced through my mind, and hopefully one day I can share them with you. You see, there are many things that I am not able to share until everything is over.

It was difficult sitting in a crowded courtroom waiting for our moment to stand before the judge. Since there are four people involved in this case, we couldn't start until each lawyer was present. We waited and watched for several hours as our judge handled case after case of those who were also present with their own set of problems. As I watched, I learned so much about the judge himself. He was a fair, courteous, kind, and most of all, helpful man.

It's strange, as I always thought of a judge as someone who was TOUGH and MEAN, but our judge was just the opposite. Yes, he was fair, but as I watched everyone who went before him, HIS ONLY DESIRE was to help each person under the letter of the law. Whatever his decision, it was always in the best interest of the person he was judging. It wasn't about him lording over people, it was about him using his authority to actually help the accused.

Finally, it came time for the four young men to stand before this judge. Never in a second did I think this judge would be anything BUT fair to those who stood before him. It was such a reassuring fact.

When it came time to make a decision, the judge basically delayed the case for 30 more days to allow all the young men to get a probation report, which is basically a report that allows the court to see the background of all the men. This is actually a good thing because I believe the background of all these young men will help the judge deliver a fair verdict.

Now, the news media continues to highlight the fact that one of these boys is the "Coach's son" and the other is the "Pastor's son," and what they fail to report are many of the facts. For that reason, I want to share just a few of the facts that the newspaper/TV will never report.

First of all, FULL restitution was made. You say, "What does that mean?" That means that BEFORE the newspaper EVER reported this story, FULL restitution had been made. Everything was returned, and a check was written to make them FLUSH. I wish the paper would have revealed this fact just ONCE.

Secondly, each of the young men are sorry for what they did. I am NOT allowed to really talk about the facts of the case, but I assure you that if they had it all to do again, they would NEVER make this mistake again. I know some of you may doubt that, but THAT is the truth. I know each of the people involved, and they are good kids who made a bad mistake. They have learned lessons of a life time.

They will have to let the courts make their ruling. We know it will be right and fair. The young men will all learn from these wrongdoings and become better people as they grow and mature. It is my prayer that YOU will continue to pray for them, that they would learn what God wants them to learn. I want to thank each of you for standing with me during this difficult time.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr.


Yesterday, I had lunch with the father of Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin, Jr., who was a 36 year old man who gave his life serving in the Iraq war. I wish that each of you could have the privilege of sitting with Darrell Griffin, Sr. and listening to the heart of a father who lost his best friend and the lessons he learned in this difficult process. I copied an excerpt from a website that I found on the internet. I want to encourage you to Google Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin, Jr. and read about this man's life. Soon to follow is a book written by both of them that is a must read.

Please keep all of our soldiers in your prayers and thank GOD for the freedoms we have here in the United States of America.

I pray for this family and all the families of our military.
Thank you Darrell, Sr. for your words of wisdom yesterday.
Thank you Darrell, Jr. for the greatest sacrifice.


"Staff Sgt.Darrell R. Griffin, Jr.,36, of Alhambra, Calif., died Mar. 21 in Balad, Iraq, from wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with small arms fire during combat operations. Griffin was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Staff Sgt. Griffin served in the Army National Guard prior to joining
the active Army and reporting to Fort Lewis in July 2001 at which time he was assigned to 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (SBCT). He was deployed to Iraq with the 1st Brigade from October 2004 to September 2005. Griffin was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for his actions in saving the lives of three US Soldiers as well as two Iraqi Army soldiers injured during battle in Tal Afar, Iraq. This was Staff Sgt. Griffin's second tour in Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division approximately one year ago."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Byron Davis and Dream of Destiny

This is Byron Davis and yours truly at the Bird's Nest, the main arena for the 2008 Bejing Olympics. We were there to share the love of Jesus with the Chinese people. I have been thinking about that trip and the 25 folks from our church that traveled with me to the other side of the world. 2.1 billion Chinese people in the world, and the vast majority of them do NOT know about Jesus Christ.

During my life group this morning, my mind raced back to that trip. I am praying that God would send someone to water the seeds we planted, and that God himself would give the increase...

And all God's people said ??? AMEN and AMEN!!!

Byron is also the director for our ministry called Dream of Destiny. We work together to brainstorm ways that we can help churches, colleges, and organizations diversify. As you know, it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that said how wrong it was that 11:00 am was the most segregated hour in CHRISTIAN America. Since this MONDAY is the holiday marking his birthday, I wonder if he would be happy or sad with the progress in our churches. I think in almost every area of life, we have seen GREAT PROGRESS, except in the local church. I know there are many reasons for this, but in my heart, I think of all the "Christian" watchwords. Words like forgiveness, hope, love, unity and peace. You would think that these words would LEND us to be more diverse, but that has not been the case.

As we watch America swear into office the first ever African American President, be thankful that our nation has matured enough to see this historical day. And at the same time, ask what YOU CAN DO to help bring increased diversity into the Christian church. Why not go to our website and see if there is a way for YOU to get INVOLVED?

Dudley

Friday, January 09, 2009

Racial Diversity and Words of Encouragement

I spoke last night for an hour and another three hours this morning on the importance of racial diversity at the London Institute in Corona. Then I came home to finish my message for this weekend, where I will be outlining the direction of our church for 2009.

Just know that as I read through all the comments on my recent blog post that I was deeply moved and touched by all of your thoughts and prayers. I wish I was able to explain to you how encouraging YOU are to me and my family. The church is a family. And you are a part of my family. Your words and prayers are AMAZING.

So many thoughts, so many things that need to be said, but just know that God is still on the throne and that no matter what happens to any of us, that God will always sustain us. I know that God has never failed me, and when we look at all of life, we are the most blessed people on the earth.

My prayer for YOU is that God would comfort you the way he has comforted me. It really is a miracle that no matter what happens to us that God is able to turn it into good. Romans 8:28.

If we had to rely upon ourselves for peace and hope, then we would ALL be in trouble. But one only needs to read the last few chapters of Job to realize that God is all powerful and all knowing, and in HIM ALONE are we to trust.

I will see you this weekend, with a Bible and a friend. I am excited to share the plans for 2009.

LOVING YOU and LOVING GOD,
Pastor Dudley

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Thoughts

Heart is heavy today.
Paper is unfair.
They enjoy their slant.
I love my son.
He is my best friend.
No word or deed will ever diminish my view of him.
He lives in a glass house. I live in a glass house.
I love my son.
I will be by his side forever.
Right is right and wrong is wrong.
I am sorry. For everything.
God loves me. God loves you.
Romans 8:28
I love God.
I love my son.
My Aunt died.
Going to her funeral today. Yes, Today.
I wonder if the paper will report the greatness of her life.
I doubt that.
Won't be holding my breath.
That would be a worthy article.
I have no comment.
Well I have several.
I just can't say them.
Don't want to be misquoted.
Will covet your prayers.
Praying is powerful.
I love my son.
He loves me.
No matter what I do, he loves me.
I love that.
I really love that.
He needs me.
I need him.
We both need God.
Today will pass. But God is eternal.
His love is eternal.
His grace is eternal.
His spirit is eternal.
I love my son.
God gave my son to me.
God gave his son to me.
Thank you God for my son.
Thank you God for your son.
That had to be hard.
Because, I love my son.
and I know that you love your son.
John 3:16
I love John 3:16.
I really love that.

Just a few thoughts...
Got to run to the funeral now.
My aunt was a Godly woman.
Wish you could have known her.
Will see my dad.
I love my dad.
My dad loves me.
It was his sister that died.
It's hard to bury your sister.
But that's what he's going to do today.
I must be with my son.
I must be with my father.
They both need me today.
I can do both.
It is an honor to help them.
They have both helped me in so many ways.
I love my dad.
I love my son.
I miss my grandfather.
He was a preacher too.
I don't remember his funeral.
He died when I was four.
His daughter is my Aunt.
Went to see her in the Hospital on Sunday.
Today I will see her laid to rest.
Heart is Heavy today.
I love my son.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Not a LOT of sleep

I woke up this morning at about 4:30 AM. For some strange reason my dog, BUSTER, thought a stray rabbit that he saw was worth waking up the entire neighborhood.

I immediately began to think about my schedule this week and that was the end of my night's rest. It always seems that I book so many things into my life that I wake up one day and realize that I cannot possibly keep all these plates spinning at the same time.

It's never a good thing to walk into one's office NOT knowing where to start. So today, as in many days, I must begin with prayer -- asking God for wisdom; asking God to help me remember HOW BIG HE IS and how small I am; praising God for all of 2008 and trusting in God for all of 2009; praising God for WHO He is and not because of WHAT He can do; remembering the flock that God has placed under my care; asking God to help me be a dedicated Man of God; begging for mercy for all the times I've blown it; singing the words to some of my favorite praise songs and even recalling some old hymns I used to sing as a boy; thinking of those who are dreaming big dreams and asking God that He would give them the desires of their heart.

I am asking God to provide financially for all the people that I know of that are hurting right now, for the protection and provision for my family and loved ones, for believers to feverishly seek and save that which is lost. I read today of a woman who died trying to rescue her dog. Lord, why can't we be more diligent in rescuing the unborn child, or the man who does NOT know Christ?

Lord, help me today, every second of today. I cry out to You, for YOUR help, for YOUR guidance, for YOUR protection, for YOUR love and for YOUR purpose to be front and center. Thank you for helping me get through THIS DAY. I pray in JESUS' name.... Amen!!!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Let's ride




I was scheduled to be gone this weekend... Phil Allen will be preaching at all the services THIS weekend at the Porter Ranch Campus. But I decided to do something to help our Westside Campus in Brentwood. I am going to preach just ONCE this weekend at 11:00 AM at the Wadsworth Theatre. I decided to invite all of my Harley Davidson friends. I started a group called "Pastor's Posse," and we get together and go riding from time to time, and this Sunday, I have invited all of them to go on a ride with me to church on the Westside.

Thinking about making this a YEARLY event.... smile....

We are going to meet at the Park and Ride at 9:45 AM on Porter Ranch Drive and the 118 freeway and then leave at 10:00 AM sharp to ride over the hill and arrive at the Wadsworth Theatre by 10:30 AM... Church starts at 11:00 AM. I will preach, then we are going to have lunch, and then ride PCH north.....

Please feel free to join us if you like.

Pray for our safety and pray that we are able to reach people for JESUS.

And then NEXT weekend, on the 10th and 11th, I will be introducing the 2009 theme to the entire church body. You won't want to miss it!