Thursday, October 30, 2008

Who Will Get My Vote?

With the election upon us, amid the countless speeches, rhetoric and campaign promises. So now what? How do we vote? What will be the factor(s) that will end the debate in our minds? Time is ticking... Recently, I came across an article by gentleman named Tony Woodlief (Current Issue of World Magazine) that I thinks bears consideration.
Here is an excerpt from that article:
"I have become something I once reviled: a single-issue voter. I used to think that a wise voter tries to discern each candidate's intentions on major issues, and then casts his vote based on an assessment of who will do the greatest overall good—or the least evil. I thought those voters who support a candidate based on a single issue—whether he will increase school funding, say, or lower taxes—were shirking their duty to consider the full ramifications of putting someone in office. What good is electing someone who is "right" on one thing, I thought, if he gets everything else disastrously wrong?
This was the reasoning I used as I congratulated myself for wisely apportioning my votes based on utilitarian calculations. Now I suspect this sort of calculation misses something. I've become convinced that a nation which sanctions the extinguishing of unborn children, and further, the outright execution of near-term infants, doesn't deserve admiration even if it gets every other policy right. It's certainly true that there are other issues that ought to concern Christians, like the sanctity of marriage, and how we treat the mentally ill, the elderly, and children who have been born.
But abortion is, in my view, the touchstone. Get this one wrong and your moral compass can guide you in nothing else.
Yet there is also painful clarity that comes with single-mindedness. Jobs, highways, schools, economic growth—none of these matter if we're willing to sanction murder to get them. Perhaps my mentality is a recipe for political isolation for Christians, for the losing of elections, and maybe even a loss of national greatness. I worry that the alternative, however, is to lose something far greater, which is our ability to discern good from evil, and to act accordingly."
Just something to think about as you head to the polls on Tuesday...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Medical Missions...San Luis, Mexico

This was our team from First Assembly who ministered medically and spiritually together with over 65 others from all over the country. We were working out of Bethel Orphanage, that has been reaching out to orhpans and the community of San Luis for over 28 years. Over 5,000 lives were touched through clinics consisting of medical, optical, dental, chiropractic and spiritual. Each person heard the gospel and over 1,061 accepted Christ! In the clinic that I was priviledged to be part of over 90% of those who heard the gospel received Christ. Additionally, rice and beans were given out to families and individuals as they left the clinics. For four of our ladies this was their first missions experienced and each one expressed how the trip opened their eyes to how the rest of the world lives, and that they would definitely want to serve the Lord on another missions trip. I'll never forget the words of Keith Green, who penned these words to song, "Jesus Comands Us To Go..." this sums up missions and every effort made to reach souls for Jesus! So when you get the opportunity to go....Just go!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fireproof...Your Marriage

Want to rescue, or strengthen your marriage? Consider taking your wife or husband to "Fireproof," the new movie starring Kirk Cameron which opens tonight in theatres. The movie provides opportunities for dialogue around the issues of forgiveness, communication, the differences between men and women, pornography and the need for God's Love. So far, Fireproof has been getting tremendous is just one.

AmyPosted on September 25, 2008, I just got out of the theater two hours ago. This movie gives me the chills in a good way. My boyfriend of two years went to see the movie with me. I have prayed and hoped that this movie will give our relationship what it needs, the unconditional love, respect, putting God first in our relationship so that we may grow stronger together through God and each other. I pray that all married and non-married couples will see this movie to begin a healing and thought-provoking process to help bring marriage back to what it began as...two people coming together joined as One, the way that God designed it. God bless all our firefighters, EMTs, and policemen for the challenging work you do that takes you away from your loved ones. Please know that there is someone out there tonight praying for you and we appreciate all that you do. God Bless!

Check out the website: for more information on this movement to grow marriages through Christ! So, no matter what your marriage looks like right now, there is hope, because there is nothing too hard for God! Get a babysitter, set the date, take her to dinner and go see this movie with your spouse...I know I will, and don't forget the popcorn!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Great New Book....Crazy Love

I recently purchased this new book by a new author for me. It is called "Crazy Love," by Francis Chan...Pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA. He is a Pastor who thinks out-of-the box, who seeks to challenge Christians away from a life being a life of risk and pursuit of an authentic faith...a passionate love relationship with God. He asks, "Have you ever wondered if we're missing it? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss...Whether you've verbalized it or not...we all know something's wrong."

Check out this short video introduction by the author;

Friday, September 19, 2008

The New Extreme Rush...Swooping

A few years ago I skydived from 14,000 feet. It was the ultimate rush! Experiencing the sensation of free-falling at 120 MPH was exhilarating! Reflecting on the experience, it was also a lesson in faith. Faith that I had the courage to actually jump from a perfectly good plane, faith that one of my five parachutes would open, and faith that I would land safely on the ground. My experience was successful...but now the rage to swoop down like an eagle or canadian geese into a pond that is only 3 feet deep...that would be a stretch for me and I'm sure for many. To top it off, when you swoop, you jump from 5,000 feet instead of a higher drop. A real faith tester...Huh. Maybe it will catch on, maybe it won't. If you have never skydived or swooped, here is your opportunity. I'm thinking about it (swooping) about you?

Check it out for yourself!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Letting go...

I came across this verse the other day. It comes from Psalms 32, it was the way Eugene Peterson put it that struck me:

"When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans...the pressure never let up, all the juices of my life dried up"....Then I let it all out, I said, "I'll make a clean breast of my failures to God." Suddenly the pressure was gone- my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared." (vv.3-5) Message

How often do we feel like this? Especially when it seems like life is literally sucking us dry by circumstances, sin and unresolved issues. The Psalmist here is providing us the remedy for the internal struggles and pain. He says, "Let it all out," empty yourself and let the Almighty fill you again with His goodness and love. I don't know about you, but this brings me "peace in the midst," of _______ (you fill in the blank). Check out the song by Sanctus Real, maybe it will speak to you as it has to me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What Matters Most

Have you ever asked yourself the question, "What do I value the most?" You see, when you experience changes to your life on any level, you encounter questions like the one above. In the past year, I have experienced some major changes in my life from a new focus of ministry,a new church family, an empty nest at home, to a changing of seasons ( I like to call this a change in thinking). Journeying through this has caused me to take notice of what matters most. I have often asked myself this question, sometimes without being able to answer it, and sometimes I can. I can honestly say that what I value today is radically different from what I have valued 5 years ago. In our society, even in the church, we place such emphasis on possessions and blessings, forgetting about "what matters most." Having had several opportunities to minister on overseas mission trips, where I have encountered many who have nothing, yet have everything.

I read a quote that really got me thinking, "Don't accumulate possessions; accumulate experiences." Mark Batterson (Lead Pastor of National Community Church, Washington D.C.) blogged this on the Ethiopian outback late one night in his pup tent.You see, what matters most is the relationships we cultivate with each other, the trips we take to together, the time we spend together. These pursuits far outweigh any purchase or possession we could ever desire. Even though I'm in unchartered territory, yet I am thankful and looking forward toward the future, and for when my children come home for Thanksgiving!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Welcome to my blog...

I'm Rick Barnes,

Pastor of Christian Education, Worship, Drama, Life Groups (small groups),Senior Adult ministries and coordinate the overseas and home missions trips for First Assembly of God in Hermitage, PA. I have been an Ordained minister with the Assemblies of God for over 22 years. My wife Kathy (of 28 yrs.), is a Therapeutic Staff support and a Lead Mental Health coordinator for children who are mentally challenged also in Hermitage, PA. I have two children. My son Eric, is a Graphic Design major at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO, where he is a Senior. My daughter Kari, is a Physical Education major at Evangel University also in Springfield, MO, where she is a Sophomore.

My aim and desire with this blog is to share my thoughts and things that I have learned in ministry & life experiences.

Recently, I have been reading George Barna's book, "Revolution," where Barna says that "an explosion of spiritual energy and activity," is taking place today. He continues to say that an "unprecedented reengineering of America's faith dimension," is occuring. I see this happening in our country and in my own life. Barna goes on to point out that these "Revolutionaries," desire basically 4 things:

1. They don't like playing games
2. They are aggressive in their faith
3. They want more of God
4. They are very determined to "make a difference," with their lives.

Reading and considering this has prompted me to re-evaluate my faith, my motives, my heart, my passion as I seek to follow the Spirit's leading. It has definitely challenged me to think differently.