March 29, 2010
by Michael Catt – Senior Pastor
Sherwood Baptist Church
The President-elect has promised us that “change is coming.” In some ways, that might be good, but not all change is good. Change for the sake of change is not good; change because change is needed and necessitated is good.
Nationally, we need some change. Wall Street has been more like a back alley with drug dealers making quick bucks than a business handling the investments of hardworking people. Politics needs to change. Democrats and Republicans alike are self-absorbed. They don’t do what’s in the best interest of the country; they do what’s in their best interest. We are insane if we think the same old political cronies are going to produce real change. It’s the clowns in Congress who allowed the legislation that got us in this mess.
I’m for change—make the Representatives and Senators live in their districts face the music every week for the constituency that elected them. The car companies need to change. The unions have destroyed the free enterprise system, and we are paying people not to work. Unions have set up their own welfare system within the auto industry. That needs to change.
Churches need to change. Churches obsessed with business meetings or run by a few families need to go out of business. Churches that treat pastors like slave labor need to close their doors. Communities would be healthier if about half of the churches were shut down or combined to make vital, stronger churches. We don’t need a church on every corner. We need churches that are more committed to the four corners of the earth than their corner on the pew.
Denominations need to change. We are losing a younger generation because we aren’t listening and leading. The younger preachers flock to conferences that lack balance and do little to encourage biblical preaching. Why? Because the majority of mainline denominations don’t have a clue what’s going on in the pew. The ivory castle is no place to figure out what is needed. Jesus walked among the people; He didn’t sit in an office removed from them.
There has been much debate in my denomination about the name of the Cooperative Program. I believe that program is a solid way to join together in a common cause and mission. It was right to change the name of the Foreign Mission Board to the International Mission Board. It was right to change the name of the Home Mission Board to the North American Mission Board. It was right to change the name of the Baptist Sunday School Board to LifeWay. So what’s the problem with changing the name of the Cooperative Program?
I know of meetings where men have dug in their heels on changing this name. They refuse to think of Kingdom business. They are more stuck on two antiquated words than a name that will (a) continue to emphasize CP giving and (b) get the attention of a younger generation that thinks in missional, kingdom terms. Of course, they would rather let the funding die and ministries cease than do anything about increasing our giving to missions. The change that needs to come is (a) in the name and (b) in anyone who wants to hold on to a name for a name’s sake.
Change is not the same old thing with a new label. Baptists are notorious for changing the label on the same old product. We use to have BYU on Sunday nights, and then it was Training Union, then Church Training, then Discipleship Training. The problem was never the name. The problem was that we weren’t doing a good job of training and discipling. Call it Bible Study, Sunday School, Small Groups or Cell Groups—the key is the leader’s commitment to the purpose of the event and process.
Churches have to be willing to change. We’ve changed a lot at Sherwood in my nearly twenty years here. When I came, we were King James only, women couldn’t wear pants, and Scofield was as sacred as Saint Paul. Today, nothing has changed theologically, but we wouldn’t be the church we are today if we had not changed.
We changed the music, but not the message. We changed the translation we use, but not the commitment to inerrancy. We changed the way we do ministry, from committees and deacons running the church to Pastor-led. The result? Over 5,000 people have joined in the last twenty years. With the declining population of our area, it is a God thing that we are growing.
What if we had stayed the same? One, a lot of folks who left would have been happy. They would still be large and in charge. Two, we wouldn’t be making movies. We wouldn’t have a Sports Park. We wouldn’t be an integrated church like we are with people from nearly a dozen nations. We wouldn’t be reaching people in 29 surrounding communities. Three, we wouldn’t be “anchored to the rock and geared to the times.”
We must be consistent and at the same time changing. One day, we may not be in the movie business anymore. I don’t foresee that day coming soon, but if it does, God has something else for us. We need to be constantly thinking, “How do we keep the vision of ‘reaching the world from Albany, Georgia’ when we are aiming at a moving target?” The methods must never become sacred. The message must always be essential.
Paul was willing to become all things to all men that he might save a few. Paul never compromised the gospel, but he did whatever it took to carry the gospel to others. Will you join me in praying that God will continually use us in a changing world to change lives and the culture? Let’s pray we never get stuck in our ways or preferences. Let’s ask God to make us fluid in our thinking, while at the same time fixed on the cross.
Copyright 2009, Michael Catt
The opinions stated in this article are not necessarily those of RVchurchesUSA but solely the expressed opinions of the author
printed with permission
March 29, 2010by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
as appeared on RV Home Yet? March 26, 2010
Many RVers have registered their RVs in Montana after setting up a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) in that state. The corporation then owns the RV and, since Montana has no sales tax, the corporation pays none. RVers choose this option to avoid paying large amounts of sales tax when registering their vehicles.
It works for many but some states are not happy about missing out on that revenue. According to the RV Daily Report, Massachusetts has identified 23 Massachusetts RV owners who have set up LLCs and registered their vehicles in Montana instead of the state where they are residing. They suspect there are more and are unhappy that Montana will not release information. These RV owners have been given warnings that they must register their RV in Massachusetts. In cases cited in the MyFox.com article, the amounts were in the $9,000 to $11,000 range plus a yearly excise tax imposed by municipalities as well. So far the state has collected more than $200,000. The Inspector General’s Report, linked in the Fox article, explains the process they went through to identify residents evading taxes.
If a vehicle is driven in Massachusetts for more than 30 days in the state, it must be registered there. Most states have such a law. Full-time RVers may not stay in one place for that long so it wouldn’t be a problem. But for RV owners who actually reside in a state, the likelihood of being caught increases. California, for example, encourages citizens to turn in neighbors or co-workers who have vehicles registered in other states- especially Oregon, which has no sales tax. There can also be fees and penalties in addition to having to register, pay the missing sales tax and perhaps even back years’ fees. It could get expensive.
I expect states will get more aggressive about finding “lost fees.” I’m not sure I’d risk it unless I were moving about continuously. However, it is an individual decision. Just go into it with your eyes open, knowing you take a risk.
Jaimie Hall BruzenakPlease add your comment below or email Jamie at email@example.com
reprinted with permission
March 27, 2010By Billy Graham – evangelist
as appeared in the Washington Post March 25, 2010
The Bible doesn’t answer all our questions about Heaven – but it does tell us that it will be far more glorious than anything we can imagine. Heaven is like the most perfect and beautiful place we can possibly conceive – only more so. Only in Heaven will we know exactly what Heaven is like. People have speculated for centuries about what Heaven will be like – some realistic, some fanciful (or even perverse).
But the most essential truth about Heaven is this: We will be in God’s presence forever. And because we will be with God, no harm or evil can ever touch us again. One of the most moving descriptions of Heaven in all Scripture is this: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
In Heaven there will be no more fear or worry or stress. We won’t need locks on the doors, or bars on the windows, or sophisticated alarm systems – because everything that causes fear will be eliminated. Evil and Satan and death will be banished forever, and we will no longer be threatened, either by nature or by other people. Conflicts and wars will cease, and all the things that divided us on earth will divide us no more. God’s promise will be fulfilled. In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to “a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).
Heaven will also be a place of reunion. I am often asked if we will meet our loved ones there who have died in the Lord. I have no doubt that we will! This truth has become even more precious to me since the death of my wife, Ruth, almost three years ago.
The most important truth about Heaven for us today, however, is that God wants us to be there! We cannot win our way into Heaven by our own goodness, because we will never be good enough; God’s standard is perfection. But God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to become the final and complete sacrifice for our sins – and when we put our faith and trust in Him, all our sins are erased and Heaven’s door opens before us.
May this truth become a reality in your life today.
Rev. Billy Graham is an evangelist and chairman of the board of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
March 25, 2010
North Huntingdon natives Adam Kunes and Andrew Blythe, who came up with the faith-based concept, are touring campuses to recruit college students to join their second service journey.
Last year, their Pittsburgh nonprofit The Call to Serve used fundraisers and donations to buy an RV. They and a friend took a month-long expedition to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans and Galveston, Texas, a Catholic youth camp in Missouri, a California agency serving people with developmental and learning disabilities, and other nonprofits along the way.
In recent weeks, Kunes, 25, and Blythe, 23, have been showing a documentary of their 2009 journey to students at several colleges in the region to promote this summer’s trip to assist nonprofits in New Orleans; Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga., and Virginia Beach.
The men want their group to dispel notions that young people aren’t willing to give of themselves.
“Our goal is to show it on as many campuses as possible to give young people an opportunity to be part of something great,” said Blythe, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in athletic training.
They set an April 15 deadline for students over 21 to apply, with the goal of choosing 12 and renting two more RVs. Standout applicants, they said, will have a heart for service, a willingness to step out of their comfort zone, and a sense of humor to handle a road trip with new people.
Kunes and Blythe say they intend to make “The Big Easy” an annual destination because the idea for their group came from their 2006 meeting there during a Catholic HEART Workcamp mission trip.
“We kind of want to use that as our base each year,” said Kunes, a Pitt grad who started a media company, Rewind Memories. “New Orleans will always be on the itinerary.”
Blythe said he was moved last year by meeting the owner of one of the houses leveled by Hurricane Katrina.
“Seeing the community really coming back to life was really powerful,” he said. “Yeah, the Superdome may be open and the Saints are Super Bowl champs, but there’s a lot of help they need still.”
Another stop last year was in Brooklyn, N.Y., where they spent a day sorting and cataloging unused medical supplies for a nonprofit that sends beds, medical equipment and other items to hospitals in Africa and Haiti.
The organization shipped out about 25 tons of supplies last year that otherwise would have been dumped in landfills or incinerated, said Nick Eggers, Doc to Dock’s program coordinator.
“I thought it was such a neat idea, what they were doing,” Eggers said of The Call to Serve. “By all accounts, they were very friendly, outgoing, interesting young people and seemed very dedicated to their service.”
The duo uses social networking sites like Facebook to promote fundraisers, local service projects and sales of T-shirts to more than 1,700 fans.
March 25, 2010by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassor and author of It’s Never Too Late
This is an appropriate question for our discussion on loving God, because there is an answer. God desires our love above everything and everyone else (Deut. 10:12).
We use the word love so frequently that it loses some of its meaning. We love our families, our spouses, our cars, our houses, our jobs, the movies, TV, and even our pets. Although there is nothing wrong with that, we sometimes put our love for those at the top of our list of loved things.
Our Creator God wants to be at the top of that list! He expressed that clearly to the children of Israel in Exodus 20:3-4.
However, God gave man the freedom of choice to either follow His commandments or to disobey them. In the Garden of Eden the choice of obedience or disobedience is clearly spelled out along with the consequences. In Genesis 2 we read that Eve chose to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil over the tree of life. In Genesis 3:1 we read that Eve listened to another voice—to that of the serpent (Devil). So began the eternal battle between the forces of good and evil. The Apostle Paul speaks of that same battle still raging in him in Romans 7:15-16.
“When [Eve] saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it” (Gen. 2:6). This is the reason it is difficult to love God above everything and everybody else.
We are not just physical beings—we are spiritual beings as well. Two interconnected beings and both involved in the battle between good and evil. Each of us has a choice to make: to be controlled primarily by our physical being or by our spiritual being—to be believers or nonbelievers.
It is so easy to follow the desires of the physical, as Eve did, and to partake of that which seems to be good, pleasing and desirable to us while here on earth. Yet in His parable of the farmer sowing seed in Mark 4:19, Jesus warns that the things of this world can choke out the seed of God’s Word and cause us to allow the love of other things to be greater than our love for Him.
As always, I welcome you questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join me again next week as we continue our discussion on loving God.
John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at email@example.com
March 19, 2010by Mike Haskey – reporter Ledger-Inquirer.com
Upchurch said the vehicle, an RV with an exterior decorated like a Waffle House restaurant, had motorists honking horns and reaching for cell phone cameras as he drove it into Columbus Thursday. “It’s definitely an attention getter,” he said.
Upchurch, a district manager for Waffle House, along with co-worker Heather Mills, were serving breakfast to residents and staff at Club Hill Apartments in Columbus Friday morning. On the menu, of course, were freshly-made waffles, along with biscuits. They used a portable waffle iron to make the waffles in the apartment complex office.
Inside, the Waffle House RV is the same as any other recreational vehicle. It has a small kitchen, bathroom and sleeping quarters. It only appears, because of the exterior decoration, to have a miniature Waffle House inside. The vehicle will be at Thunder in the Valley this weekend.
Upchurch said the company uses the vehicle for marketing and promotions and that it provides the Waffle House marketing team a place to sleep when they are working an event where lodging is difficult to get, like the upcoming Masters event in Augusta. [more]
March 18, 2010
The Forest Service had proposed changes to discounts provided to holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and Senior and Access Passes that would have lowered the discount form 50% to 10%. The response from the public–more than 4,000 comments–universally opposing the rate changes, convinced Tidwell that the proposed changes were not the best way to address services provided by private contractors at Forest Service recreation sites.
“Each year more than 175 million people enjoy recreational opportunities on National Forests and Grasslands, and that includes more than 15 million visits to our campgrounds,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Particularly in these difficult economic times, it is very important to maintain affordable access to our National Forests and Grasslands, giving people easy ways to recreate and find respite in the great outdoors.”
Whether this decision will result in the raising of fees before the mandatory 50% discount is applied remains to be seen, but it is good news for seniors, forest campers, and boondockers that use forest service campgrounds (Photo – Deschutes National Forest, Oregon), and is a testament to the government listening to and being influenced by the public sentiment.
Concessionaires, however, are not required to accept passes at day use sites. For more information, visit: www.fs.fed.us
March 18, 2010by Michael Vaughan – Reporter for TheGlobeandMail.com
Published on Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2010
In fact, the Recreational Vehicle Heritage Museum in Elkhart, Ind., says this is the 100th anniversary of homes on wheels.
It’s difficult to be precise about the date of the origin of the species but there is no doubt that by 1910 the first homemade campers were being built on car and truck bodies that were around at the time.
By the late 1920s, there were several manufacturers of campers, caravans, mobile homes or, to use the modern term, RVs, and camping clubs were being established.
David Woodworth is an RV historian who built the collection of antique RVs in the Indiana museum at the self-proclaimed RV Capital of the World.
Yes, there will be many good times around the dump-out stations of North America this summer as RVers reflect on 100 years of the joys of being on the road.
Vaughn: So David, you say we’ve had versions of the RV around for 100 years.
Woodworth: At least. I have stories of people auto camping from 1905.
This started very quickly. As soon as the automobile was running, people began adapting them for living on the road.
They no longer had to go on the rail system and they could pull off the road wherever they wanted. They could stop and enjoy that little brook or river.
It was partly the fascination with the automobile and partly to escape the confinement of the rail system.
You could now go wherever you wanted to go and stop wherever you wanted.
By 1914, there were companies building tent trailers and, by 1918, they were building travel trailers. [read the entire article]
March 16, 2010by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassor and author of It’s Never Too Late Matthew 22:36-40.
You may not understand why you should love God
- if you have not recognized Him as your Creator,
- if you have not accepted the Bible as the factual and true record of man’s journey on this earth,
- if you have not consulted the Bible as the Guidebook for your life,
- if you have not listened to the words of Psalms 139:13-16, James 1:17, John 3:16, or
- if you have not considered the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, death on the cross and resurrection.
That is why the terms “believer” and “non-believer” are often used within Christian circles. Those who do believe understand why man’s greatest duty is to love God. It is because He first loved us (1 John 4:19) and continues to do so in spite of our sinful natures.
I know that my God “knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalms 139:13) to create me as a unique person. My earthly mother and father were the first to love me as I entered this world. As the result of their love, it was natural for me to return that love – because they first loved me.
As a child, I recall my parents saying “If you love me, obey me” and “If you love me, do what I tell you.” I John 4:10 tells us that we “love God because He first loved us.” Now I hear it from my Heavenly Father in the words of Jesus: “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15 NIV).
John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 15, 2010by Mark Polk
Mark is a regular contributing author
That’s good news but, one death is too many.
Today I would like to discuss getting to your RV travel destination safely. Getting there can be half the fun, as the saying goes, if you take a few precautions to make your trip as safe as possible.
Trip Planning: The first step is to plan the trip you are taking. Travel guides, magazines, state tourism boards and Internet sites offer valuable information to help you plan your trip. Route your trip on a map or from an Internet trip planning website.
Always keep an atlas or maps in the RV or tow vehicle. Driving a motorhome or pulling a trailer can be stressful, especially if you don’t know the route you will be traveling. Using a GPS system can make traveling much less stressful.
I am including this short checklist to assist you in planning your RV trips.
- Route your trip on a map or from an Internet trip planning website.
- Plan your itinerary to include what campgrounds you will be staying at.
- Give a family member or friend a copy of your itinerary and contact information.
- Make campground reservations in advance especially during the busy travel season.
- Limit your traveling to 350 miles a day or less. Not only will your trip be more enjoyable, but this will allow plenty of time to get set-up at the campground before it gets dark outside.
- Make sure your emergency roadside service is up to date. If you don’t have one you should get one prior to leaving on your trip.
- Conduct pre-trip checks for your RV.
- Check and refill any medications you will need.
- Be sure you have your credit cards, ATM card, checkbook and cell phone.
- Check the weather conditions for where you will be traveling each day. Take a weather radio receiver with you. Don’t travel in bad weather or during high winds.
- Take your address book and stamps.
- Take emergency contact numbers.
- Take a spare set of eyeglasses or reading glasses.
- Take a spare set of keys.
- Make sure you have all your owner’s manuals for the RV & warranty information.
- If you’re under a doctor’s care take along a copy of your medical records. Make a list of all medications you are taking and keep it in your wallet or other safe place for quick reference.
- Take passports (only if necessary) and check the expiration dates.
- Double check that everything is loaded in the RV.
Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University
March 15, 2010RVTravel.com and several other web sites and blogs relating to the RV industry. Woodbury reports on campgrounds to recalls, new products to the sights and sounds of the open road.
Woodbury also has a keen knack for discovering the unique, including the video below — a more than 25-year-old sales video for a Volkswagen Beetle towing a travel trailer. Or, is it a travel trailer towing a Volkswagen?
The contraption has a 360-degree turning radius and the commentator discusses the idea with a combination of instruction and humor.
For the latest information in the RV industry, visit: www.rvtravel.com.
This video was created in 1974!
March 10, 2010
By Staff Report | March 9, 2010 – 4:25 pm – Posted in RV News ServiceWinnebago Industries, Inc. has debuted a new fuel-efficient ERA Class B motorhome for RVers with physical challenges. While Winnebago Industries is known as a leader in the sale of traditional class A and C motorhomes, it is also an experienced leader in the design and manufacture of vehicles that enable individuals with special mobility concerns to travel freely and comfortably.
Special Ability Equipped ERA features include:
*The Ricon KlearVue lift in the rear of the motorhome provides easy access into the ERA while its low profile design allows an unobstructed view out the windows of the rear entrance door.
*Wider aisle-way provides for easier navigation inside the motorhome.
*Wheelchair lock-downs are provided on the driver’s side of the vehicle behind the front cab seats.
*Bath doors swing out for easy access into the bathroom.
*The wet bath includes an assist bar and second shower head holder.
*The custom galley includes sink, stove top, and microwave mounted under the stovetop for easy access. The Waeco refrigerator extends on a sliding tray from the end of the galley cabinet.
Built on an 8,550-lb. GVWR Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis with a fuel efficient 3L 6-cylinder turbo-diesel Mercedes-Benz engine, the ERA features an aerodynamic design with smooth lines and full body paint. The exterior is further enhanced with stylized, 16-inch aluminum wheels and full-length running boards. A 5,000-lb. hitch and optional patio awning are additional highlights of the coach. In addition to the rear door with the wheelchair lift, the ability equipped ERA also has front cab doors and a large sliding door on the passenger side of the vehicle for easy entry for additional occupants.
The ERA also features Winnebago Industries’ RV radio that combines an AM/FM, CD and weatherband in one and includes an iPod/MP3 jack and hand held remote. The radio is also combined with a rear view monitor system with a touch screen, displaying weather alerts and song type, in addition to a clear picture of the exterior behind the motorhome. The rear view monitor system also features one-way audio to enable a person outside to communicate with the driver in tight spots.
The ERA has plush, UltraLeather furnishings, solid-surface countertops and a 15-inch pivoting TV with DVD player. A rear dinette pedestal table and bench seats easily convert to a 40” x 69” sleeping area. The front cab seats swivel fully to face the rear of the motorhome for easy access from a wheelchair. A removable pedestal table by the cab seats also provides a second dining area or a convenient spot for playing games. The ERA has a ceiling height of 6 feet, 3 inches and an exterior length just over 24 feet.
SOURCE: Winnebago press release and RVtravel.com.