Tuesday, June 29, 2010
A bolt of lightning illuminates the sky around the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple, high on the Acropolis during a heavy rainfall in Athens early this morning.Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1290289/Greece-lightning-Ancient-Parthenon-lit-storm-breaks-Athens.html?ito=feeds-newsxml#ixzz0sIeXQmSV
Sunday, June 27, 2010
On Saturday, June 26th, UCLA honored the greatest Coach in all of sport, Coach John Wooden. He died at age 99 and many people were hoping that he could have celebrated his 100th birthday before he graduated into glory. But an honest and quick question to ask oneself is, "Would you rather celebrate your 100th birthday here on earth? Or would you prefer to celebrate your 100th birthday in heaven with your beloved wife and your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
Up to the very last moment, Coach was aware of everything that was going on -- his health, his family, his condition, his place in history and of course his faith. We talked and prayed many times during the last 10 days of his life, and he simply had reached a decision that he wanted to go to heaven.
He would smile and jest with you. He was polite. He was considerate. He said, "I love you," to everyone who uttered those words to him. And, by the way, everyone who came to see him, his players, his friends and his family, said those beautiful words, and every time, Coach returned those same words of affection with such compassion. More than food or water, his only petition was that he wanted to go home. He wanted to be with Nell. On several occasions, a tear would come to the corner of his eye as his mind would flash to that moment that he would graduate into the arms of God.
His family was torn between him staying here in the present, with his 99 year old feeble frame, or allowing him to journey to his next place of residence...Heaven, with its golden streets and pearly gates, and of course, it's eternal clock. As only a true family can do, they came together, strengthened by each other, reaching the only conclusion they could, that they wanted what was best for "Papa".
So when it came time for the public service, they instructed the University that it was imperative that someone should speak and highlight the faith of Coach Wooden. It was one of the pillars of his life as evidenced in his poems, his words and his life. Credit goes to Jim and Nan Wooden, along with the grandchildren, for making sure this was a part of the service.
Thus, I was asked, by the family to make a presentation about Coach's faith. And for those who knew Coach, he never pushed his faith onto anyone else, but he did make it clear where he stood regarding his beliefs. And as I shared in the memorial service, he is in heaven today because of his faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He personally declared his intention for the scripture in Matthew 22 about "loving God and loving others" to be used, and thus I used that text. He felt, that the greatest word in the English language was the word love. He was a giant of a man, the likes of which we will never see again in our lifetime.
I want to leave you with the poem that the family placed in the program. It was entitled, "Don't Look Back," and it speaks not only of Coach's faith, but it also speaks of the family's wishes for the funeral to truly represent his life and thoughts.
The years have left their imprint
On my hands and on my face.
Erect no longer is my walk
And slower is my pace.
But there is no fear within my heart
Because I'm growing old
I only wish I had more time
To better serve my Lord.
When I've gone to Him in prayer
He has brought me inner peace
And soon my cares and worries
And other problems cease.
He has helped in so many ways,
He has never let me down,
Why should I fear the future
When soon I could be near His crown.
Though I know down here my time is short
There is endless time up there
And He will forgive and keep me
Forever in His loving care.
May I not waste an hour
That's left to glorify the Name
Of the One Who died, that we might live
And for our sins, took all the blame.
Thank you, Coach, for showing us how to live, and thank you for showing us how to live again.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Standing at baggage claim Sunday night at LAX, waiting for my 14-year-old daughter's luggage, I overheard a man ask his wife, "Did you and the kids make it to church today?" And then I heard him say "Well, we will have to have church in the car then." I thought, MY KIND OF DAD.
A man who had traveled across the country and his priority was making sure his family had a time with the Lord. We engaged in conversation while waiting for the luggage, and lo and behold I know this man's father--a godly man named Fermin Whittaker was faithful to teach the ways of the Lord to his son, Carlos Whittaker, who I was now witnessing faithfully teaching his children the importance of worship and honor to the Lord Jesus.
I gave Carlos my card and he gave me the recently completed CD of his music called "Ragamuffin Soul." (I came out ahead on that deal.) Well, come to find out, Carlos Whittaker is a man who travels the country leading worship and teaching people how to lead worship. I have listened to his music now several times through and this brother can lead you to God's throne.
If you're looking for some music that will move your soul, written and sung by a man who honestly leads his family in the ways of God, then you will be making a wise investment.
Carlos, it was a joy to meet you. Praying for your life and ministry to influence millions... And if that prayer and dream is never realized, please know that you influenced me to be a better man. And give your papa a "shout out" from Pastor Dudley and Shepherd of the Hills Church.
Friday, June 18, 2010
A dear brother in the Lord and fellow Pastor, 67 year old David Martinez, pastor of Victory Outreach Church of the San Fernando Valley, whose ministry has affected the lives of thousands of former gang members, drug addicts and others over the last 35 years, has gone on to be with the Lord. This was a Godly warrior who served the Lord faithfully here in our city.
He had suffered a heart attack in December and then passed away of of a heart attack on Sunday while vacationing with his family in Yosemite. His son, Miguel, has been attending our church for the past six years.
Dennis McLellan of the L.A. Times reported this week that "The Pacoima-born Martinez, a former gang member, founded Victory Outreach Church of the San Fernando Valley in 1975, after reaching out to the area's gang members and drug addicts."
I will miss this Brother in the Lord. He served and reached people that were truly hurting and often times overlooked. He reached those who many deemed unreachable, ministering to those caught up in drugs and gangs. He put his own life on the line to help win people to Jesus. Often times when someone passes there is someone who comes along to pick up the slack. But in my opinion, Pastor Martinez will never be replaced. His love and compassion will be an example for all of us. Our valley was impacted by his life and service. He was a dynamic preacher, a man of prayer and he loved our work here at Shepherd. Every time I ever talked to him he was always so encouraging.
His service is today, (saturday June 19th, 10:30 a.m.) at Shepherd of the Hills Church
David I will miss your smile, your spirit and your ability to reach all men. Praying for your family and your church. May you finally enjoy the Jesus that you so greatly preached about.
Pastor Dudley C. Rutherford
Thursday, June 10, 2010
THIS WAS A POST FROM TWO YEARS AGO...
I was blessed with a chance to visit with Coach Wooden over breakfast a few days ago. I have never known a man as wonderful and kind and wise as Coach. He is now 97 years of age and still going strong. I know that he understands that God has blessed him in so many ways. He loves his family and would do anything in the world for them. He is involved in their lives is so many ways. He loves all of the players who played for him and still is close to so many of his ex-players and coaches. He is respected around the world for his teachings and his wisdom. He has so many books that describe him and I would suggest that if you've never read any of them that you google for his books and you will find a wealth of wisdom. Most importantly he loves the Lord. He has lived his life simply setting an example. He still serves as a teacher, mentor and friend to so many people around the country.
Coach... I love you. It is a joy to know that you have always let your light shine for Jesus.
The Lord has indeed blessed you in so many ways and I thank you for always pointing others to Him... Thank you for always using your life to make a difference in so many other's lives. You have selflessly served those who are in your inner circle as well as those who watch from afar. I pray that God would continue to give you good health, a quick mind and a heart that longs for heaven...
Be blessed in all you do....
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
This was one of Coach Wooden's favorite Poems. I heard him quote it once at a banquet for the final four teams in the NACC tournament. He also quoted this poem when he was inducted into the Collegiate Hall of Fame. Truly words of wisdom.
God's Hall of Fame
Your name may not appear down here,
In this world’s hall of fame,
In fact you may be so unknown,
That no one knows your name!
The Oscars here may pass you by
And neon lights of blue,
But if you love and serve the Lord,
Then I have news for you.
This hall of fame is only good
As long as time shall be,
But keep in mind, God’s Hall of fame,
Is for eternity!
To have your name inscribed up there
Is greater yet by far,
Than all the Halls of Fame down here
And every man-made star.
This crowd on earth may soon forget
The heroes of the past,
They cheer like mad until you fall,
And that's how long you last.
But God, He never does forget,
And in His Hall of Fame
By just believing in his Son,
Inscribed you'll find your name.
I tell you, friend, I wouldn't trade
My name however small,
That written there beyond the stars
In that celestial hall,
For any famous name on earth
Or glory that they share;
I’d rather be unknown here,
And have my name up there.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Back in 1994, Coach Wooden was attending the First Christian Church in Santa Monica, CA. After the Northridge earthquake, that church building was red-tagged so Coach had to find another church. I will never forget the morning that he was walking up the sidewalk leading into the sanctuary at Shepherd of the Hills Church, the church where I serve. I said "Coach, what are you doing here?" and he said, "I'm looking for a new church," and from that moment on, he and I became friends, where on many occasions we would get together to talk about spiritual things.
He loved to have me read the Bible to him, and oftentimes he would request a time of prayer. It was obvious that this incredible man was in love with the Lord, and it was quite obvious that he had walked with the Lord his entire life. I do not feel right about sharing the things that he and I talked about in private, but I will tell you that anyone who ever met Coach would recognize immediately that he was a man of love, patience, kindness and gentleness. Galatians 5:22,23, a very familiar Bible passage that tells of the "Fruit of the Spirit," contains a list of things that are the by-product of having the Spirit of God inside of you. The Bible lists the following as "Fruits of the Spirit": love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I ask you, which of these characteristics did Coach Wooden possess? I would argue with you that he had all nine. ALL NINE of them. Find ONE on the list that he did NOT possess or show evidence of in his life.
It is quite obvious that Coach was a man who loved the Lord and who deeply loved his family. Please keep his family in your prayers during these difficult days and know that one day we will see him again in heaven, where we be together forever.