Tuesday, December 30, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR! RESOLUTION ANYONE?


















Yea, I know. Most New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside by February. I’ve done my share of those. But let me strongly encourage you as you are making your New Year’s Resolutions you should add the resolution to read through the entire Bible in 2009—a great habit to start if you haven’t already. As a matter of fact, make this your number one resolution. There is no other that will benefit you more.

Let me first share with you below something funny to hopefully help motivate you. You may have seen this before in a church bulletin or elsewhere.

Top 10 Signs You’re Not Reading Your Bible Enough
10. The preacher announces that the sermon is from Genesis and you check the table of contents.
9. You think Abraham, Isaac and Jacob may have had a few hit songs during the ’60’s.
8. You open to the Psalms and a WWII savings bond falls out.
7. When asked, you say that your favorite Old Testament patriarch is Hercules.
6. Your favorite Bible verse is “cleanliness is next to godliness.”
5. You become frustrated because Charlton Heston isn’t listed in the concordance.
4. Catching the kids reading the Song of Solomon, you demand: “Who gave you this stuff?”
3. You think the Minor Prophets are a Little League team.
2. The kids keep asking too many questions about your usual bedtime story: “Jonah the Shepherd Boy and His Ark of many colors.”
And the #1 sign you may not be reading your Bible enough…
1. You keep falling for it every time the preacher tells you to turn to the book of Hezekiah.

In all seriousness; this year I’m trying to emphasize and encourage the Central church to get into the Word more and I believe the first of the year is a great time for such a re-commitment.

There is no greater activity for our personal satisfaction and spiritual development than meditating on the Word. Jesus’ response to the Devil’s temptations and His ability to sustain Himself in the desert will forever inspire and motivate me in my resolve to feed on His word. But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” (Matt. 4: 4) According to Jesus, the sustenance and nourishment He truly needed - even after fasting for forty days - came from the Word of God. There’s nothing better than what is written.

Now to accomplish this goal I suggest following a good Bible Reading Schedule (one that contains readings daily from both the Old Testament and New Testament. I’d recommend the ESV.org site has several one-year Bible reading plans to choose from. Most of them can be downloaded as a PDF file and all of them can be subscribed to by Email, RSS, read online in your web browser or read on your mobile device. Many other schedules are available online. Just do an internet search for “Bible reading schedule” and you’ll find plenty to choose from.

Perhaps the task seems daunting to you, but if you’ll follow each day’s reading, you’ll make it by the end of the year!

Happy New Year Reading!

Robert Prater

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Spirits

The group, Straight No Chaser formed back in the late 90s at Indiana University and when they graduated, they split up. They got back together in 2006 for a reunion and one of the guys had videos of a performance and put it up on YouTube since the members of the group were now living all over the country. By the beginning of December of 2007 about 100,000 people had seen it, which the group thought was pretty cool. But by the end of the first week of December, they had 200,000 total. By Christmas, 6 million people viewed it as well. And one of them was an executive from Atlantic Records who decided to call up and see if they wanted to get back together to capitalize on this and do a Christmas CD. And as you might be able to tell from the title of this post, they did, and it's called “Holiday Spirits.”

And it's good. They do a lot of standards as well as some fun ones, like Little Saint Nick. And they include the live version of 12 Days of Christmas, which is also good, but it's honestly better with the video. So, if you're looking for some new Christmas music, I'd give this one a shot. The production is great and the harmonies that these guys pull off is really, really excellent.

You can also check out the youtube video I've posted below of their interview detailing their reunion.

Robert Prater

Straight No Chaser Reunited

Straight No Chaser's new video detailing their reunion and the recording of their new album, "Holiday Spirits" for Atlantic Records.

Enjoy,

Robert

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Straight No Chaser

Last year about this time, I discovered a video by an A cappella group called, Straight No Chaser, doing a version of the 12 Days of Christmas. I’m posting that video once again to make you smile.

I’ve also recently gotten a copy of there new album and will soon be posting a review and more info about it.

Enjoy,

Robert

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bailout Explained

This is how the automaker's figured they simply have to have 25 billion and how they will divide it. I imagine though they used Powerpoint instead of the chalkboard:)!!

All of this talk today of "bailouts", "spreading the wealth", more "welfare/government assistance", etc. makes me think about the words and principle behind what the apostle Paul once wrote:

"For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (2 Thess. 3:7-10 NIV)

Robert

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pulling Away from God

Human beings seem to innately know that sinfulness and God's presence don't mix. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God's command, they instinctively attempted to hide themselves from His presence (Gen. 3:8). Satan tries to keep us away from God and sometimes he uses our own sense of guilt to accomplish this.

When Simon Peter was overwhelmed at the miraculous catch of fish orchestrated by Jesus he said, "go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man" (Luke 5:8). This week while studying some material on evangelism, the author I was reading made the point that Simon was convicted by his own sinful nature and he tried to pull away from Jesus. That is exactly what he did. When we become aware of our own sinfulness it makes us want to pull away from God, away from the church, and away from fellow believers. This is Satan's work. Satan's desire is to keep us sin-sick, guilt-ridden, and away from spiritual healing. Satan whispers in our ears, "they will be shocked at what you have done," "God won't accept you back this time," "keep it quiet and the guilt will soon go away." All of these are the devil's lies. Only the Light of God's presence can destroy the darkness of sin and its slavery over us. Jesus provides the only healing for spiritual sickness.

Sin is shameful. Sin is embarrassing. But sin is also Satan's tool of spiritual manipulation. Guilt is used by God for good to bring us to repentance and spiritual healing. But Satan can also use our guilt. He makes us want to hide from God and cover up our sin. If you feel like pulling away from God because of your sinfulness, you must resist this temptation from Satan. Jesus provides healing. The only way to destroy sin in your life and find healing to spiritual sickness is to "confess your sins one to another and pray for one another that you might be healed" (James 5:16). Jesus, the great spiritual physician, can heal all diseases and bind up all your wounds.

God bless,
Robert

Monday, November 24, 2008

James 3: A Story

Here’s a short film by Desiring God. Ever been guilty of it? I know the Prater household has (I’m thinking especially about two Sunday’s ago), and it usually starts with yours truly. And I’m the preacher who is supposed to be setting the example for my family and the church!!

So here’s a great resolution for this coming Sunday, the Lord’s Day for us all. Begin your day of service, kindness and patience at home. Set the Christlike tone with your family, and it’s bound to come easier outside the walls of your house.

“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)

Robert

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Demotivators

I don't know if you’ve seen these or not. (I've posted some of these once before on my blog) Demotivator posters are take offs on how corporate America has become filled with cliché. Motivational posters, quotes and advice seem to haunt every wall, computer and meeting room. Yet somehow all of this motivation doesn't seem to make people more productive.

You can check out their website at: www.despair.com for a twisted laugh or two.

Anyway, some of them are absolutely hilarious. Here are some I laughed at and thought they contained a lot of truth in them.

Enjoy,

Robert







Thursday, November 13, 2008

Captain VBS!

Here is a small portion from the South College Church of Christ VBS slide show promoting Tyrel and Justin Hatfield’s great VBS material from Christian Academy. Sensing the children and VBS are under attack, Captain VBS finds a place to change were no one will see. Well...almost no one. This video features Tyrel as Captain VBS and his son Nolan. Great video!

You can find this VBS curriculum and other great spiritual material at their website: www.littleacornkids.net

Enjoy,
Robert Prater

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

A tribute to our veterans! Truly a labor of love!

God bless them all,
Rob Prater

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Robin Williams as the American Flag

Thought we could all use a little humor today after the longest Presidential election in US history concluded last night. I think most Americans are glad its over.

Last night was certainly a historic night for America. Regardless of what you think about Barack Obama's politics (and I greatly disagree with much of them), you can't deny that last night was a special turning point in this country as we elected the first African-American president.

I thought John McCain's concession speech was very moving and graceful.

McCain said, "My friends, we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly," Mr McCain said, flanked by his wife Cindy and running mate Sarah Palin and her husband Todd on a outdoor stage at a luxury hotel.

The Vietnam war veteran, who has often said that honor represents his highest ideal, showed a defeated soldier's nobility as he praised Mr Obama for inspiring millions of followers.

He continued by saying that Mr Obama's election would help the country heal its racial demons.

"This is an historic election. I recognise the special significance it has for African-Americans, for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.

"I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too."

He said, "I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together. Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans."

Truly humble and wise words from an honorable and courageous man.

We all should hope and pray for the best for President-elect Obama and his family and administration. We hope that the future will hold four our nation and us something better than what we have had in the past.

We hope for justice adn moral uprighteousness to prevail. We dream of leaders who will believe and stand for is right and act with courage and godliness. Most of all, we pray for leaders who will simply allow us to be free to serve the God we love. Upon these principles every Christian should agree.

Regardless of who is the President, in the future days there will be days of prosperity and there will be days of adversity. The best of presidents will not stop adversity and the worst of presidents will not permanently stop prosperity.

One fellow preacher blogger so beautifully put it this way: "There is a country where there is no president to elect, there is only a King. He is the Monarch of Monarchs and the King of Kings. His rule is just and perfect; His power is holy and awesome. There is none like Him, no not one. In the midst of the United States Day of Change, the changeless one seeks you! His thoughts have not been on red or blue states, but on the life you can live and the opporutnity, you have. Why haven't you taken advantage today? What are you waiting on?" (The Preacher's Pen)

May God bless our newly elected President and our nation,

Rob Prater

Monday, November 3, 2008

Twas the Night Before Elections


Twas the Night before Elections and all through
the town


Tempers were flaring

Emotions all up and down!

I, in my bathrobe

With a cat in my lap

Had cut off the TV

Tired of political crap.


When all of a sudden

There arose such a noise

I peered out of my window

Saw Obama and his boys


They had come for my wallet

They wanted my pay

To give to the others

Who had not worked a day!


He snatched up my money

And quick as a wink

Jumped back on his bandwagon

As I gagged from the stink


He then rallied his henchmen

Who were pulling his cart

I could tell they were out

To tear my country apart!


' On Fannie, on Freddie,

On Biden and Ayers!

On Acorn, On Pelosi'

He screamed at the pairs!


They took off for his cause

And as he flew out of sight

I heard him laugh at the nation

Who wouldn't stand up and fight!


So I leave you to think

On this one final note-

IF YOU DON'T WANT SOCIALISM

GET OUT AND VOTE!!!!
________________________

What are the stakes in the upcoming election? Liberals could dominate the government in a way unlike they have ever before. Come Nov. 4, it's possible Democrats will control both chambers of Congress and the White House. And for all practical purposes, the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Wall Street Journal said it "would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965 or 1933."

The Far Left has already taken over the Democratic Party of the U.S. They also control the educational systems of America and they control the major media and most major multinational corporations. In addition, they control the dependents created by the welfare system. During the next election they plan to get control of the few remaining areas in this nation that they do not already control. Those areas among others are the Presidency, the Supreme Court, the Internet, talk radio and the evangelical religious systems of America.

One writer has well said that, "God is a gentleman, if He is asked to leave, He will, he never forces Himself on anybody." We are certainly witnessing a nation that as a whole is starting to ask God and His Lordship to leave.

Our nation is calling for change, and there is a possibility that God will give them that. Obama is just a face for that change, our nation is deteriorating, just look at what we value. Money, sex, power and strength with little regard to moral value. Many Christians have even invited it into our homes through the television, and through that television we have allowed our children to be desensitized so they are not sure of what truth is anymore.

In recent days I have posted several videos, articles, and info that Christian people need to think about, including the very important ballot question, Proposition 8 in California. Next to the presidential election, California Proposition 8 is the most important vote in America. It will determine the definition of marriage for the largest state in America, and it will determine whether judges or society will decide on social-moral issues.

English statesman, Edmond Burke never spoke truer words when he said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20)

May God help us hold to the truth of His Word and His righteousness in these evil and troubling days.

Robert Prater

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama and Abortion

After over 30 years of legalized abortion in America, it has not become safe or rare – two of the hopes held out by its proponents. Indeed, in the generation since Roe vs. Wade abortion increasingly is viewed as just another form of birth control. Truly the most dangerous place in America is in the womb. And the church knows it.

“The church must speak out with a stronger and unified voice on this horror. Let’s put aside differences and come together to help formation of consciences that will see abortion for what it is; killing of the unborn….the weakest and least among us. Truly then abortion is a curse on our land, and as believers we need to stand as adamant against abortion as the abolitionist stood against slavery. It should be more than a political subject or a coffee time discussion. We need to be more active in our antagonism of this murdering of the unborn.” (Jim B. Hawthorn)

This is a moment we may look back on for the rest of our lives, a moment to make a difference in our nation's direction.

May God give us the strength and courage to do so.

Rob Prater

Obama and Live Birth Abortion

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him...........hands that shed innocent blood, (Proverbs 6:16, 17b)

There are many reasons I am voting for the John McCain even though he is far, far from the perfect candiate. But if there were no other reasons than this, I would still be voting for him.

May God have mercy on us as a people.

Robert Prater

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An unGodly Definition of Marriage

Next to the presidential election, California Proposition 8 is the most important vote in America.

It will determine the definition of marriage for the largest state in America, and it will determine whether judges or society will decide on social-moral issues.

Christians, beware! These activists are not simply wanting to be left alone to do as they wish. They are seeking legal acknowledgment of their lifestyle that will in time lead to governmental repression of our faith. Our society is becoming ever more antagonistic to God and His people.

And this battle will soon be taking front and center in the public schools. What is called "sex education," whether for kindergartners or older children, is not education about biology but indoctrination in values that go against the traditional values that children learn in their families and in their communities.

Obviously, the earlier this indoctrination begins, the better its chances of overriding traditional values.

Now, those who are supporting a "No" vote on proposition 8 counter by assuring us that this is not the intention at all behind the legalizing of same-sex marriage in California. Somebody from the "No on 8" campaign should have told that to eighteen first graders who attended the wedding of their lesbian school teacher just recently. The story below tells the story.
________________________

First Graders Taken To San Francisco City Hall For Gay Wedding

SAN FRANCISCO, October 11, 2008 - In the same week that the No on 8 campaign launched an ad that labeled as "lies" claims that same-sex marriage would be taught in schools to young children, a first grade class took a school-sponsored trip to a gay wedding. Eighteen first graders traveled to San Francisco City Hall Friday for the wedding of their teacher and her lesbian partner, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The school sponsored the trip for the students, ages 5and 6, taking them away from their studies for the same-sex wedding. According to the Yes on 8 campaign, the public school field trip demonstrates that the California Supreme Court's decision to legal same-sex marriage has real consequences.

"Taking children out of school for a same-sex wedding is not customary education. This is promoting same-sex marriage and indoctrinating young kids," said Yes on 8--ProtectMarriage.com Campaign Co-Manager Frank Schubert. "I doubt the school has ever taken kids on a field trip to a traditional wedding," Schubert said.
When asked by the Yes on 8 campaign, The San Francisco Chronicle reporter said she did not know if the school had ever sponsored a field trip for students to a traditional wedding. Telling the Chronicle that the field trip was "a teachable moment," the school's principal believes it is perfectly appropriate for first graders to attend a same-sex wedding. Officials in other school districts disagree.

"Prop. 8 protects our children from being taught in public schools that 'same-sex marriage' is the same as traditional marriage," said Santa Ana Unified School District board member Rosemarie "Rosie" Avila. "We should not accept a court decision that results in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay. That is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. It shouldn't be forced on us against our will," Avila added.

The lesbian teacher's wedding was officiated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Newsom is featured in a Yes on 8 television ad, released last week, in which he arrogantly declares of same-sex marriage: "The door's wide open now. It's gonna happen, whether you like it or not."
The Yes on 8 campaign's ads explain that if the voters do not overturn the California Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling, teachers will be required to teach young children that there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.

"It's totally unreasonable that a first grade field trip would be to a same-sex wedding," said Chip White, Press Secretary for Yes on 8. "This is overt indoctrination of children who are too young to understand it."

The field trip underscores the Yes on 8 campaign's message that unless Prop. 8 passes, children will be taught about same-sex marriage in public schools. "Not only can it happen, it has already happened," White said.
________________

English statesman, Edmond Burke never spoke truer words when he said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,who put darkness for light and light for darkness,who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20)

May God help us hold to His righteousness,
Robert Prater

Yes on Proposition 8 ad

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Blog!


It was one year ago today that I posted my first blog, October 25, 2007, and thus Preacher Prater was born. Over the past year there have been over 3300 hits in our first year and I look forward to many more. Now as I look back on one full year of blogging one thing comes to my mind, "I can't believe I've stuck with this thing for a whole year."

As I spent some time this week looking back over a year's worth of posts, I had mixed emotions. Some posts I read I thought, "Wow, that was harsh. Did I really say that?" and others I thought, "What was I thinking when I wrote that?" All in all, I've loved sharing my thoughts. My goal when I started this blog was to post my thoughts about God, Christ, the church and the Christian life. I have changed some over the course of the year and have just simply posted funny items, news stories, various fun pictures, sporting events news, videos, and political and social commentary.

At the bottom of my blog there is an item called a site meter that tells me of all the people who visit everyday. Some from all over the world. I think that is so cool. While some choose to leave comments, many still don't - and that's okay. But if I had one "blog birthday wish" today it would be for all those who stop by to leave me a comment telling me who you are and where you're from. If you're uncomfortable leaving a name, you can just leave me your initials. I'd love to know where you are from.

I don't know how long I'll keep on blogging, but I have to admit that the first year has been a lot of fun. My prayer is that this blog has been as much of a blessing in your life as it has been mine. Thanks for being my friend. :)

How can you help celebrate my blog’s first birthday?
Submit a Bible question or something you’d like for me to blog about.
Read some of my archived posts.
Email one of my posts to a friend
Tell some of your friends about this blog site.
Provide a link to my blog on your website or MySpace or Facebook site.
Leave a comment on this post.
Pray and ask God to help us reach more people with the message of the Holy Scriptures.

God bless you all
Robert

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Real Obama by Thomas Sowell - October 6, 2008

Critics of Senator Barrack Obama make a strategic mistake when they talk about his "past associations." That just gives his many defenders in the media an opportunity to counter-attack against "guilt by association."

We all have associations, whether at the office, in our neighborhood or in various recreational activities. Most of us neither know nor care what our associates believe or say about politics.

Associations are very different from alliances. Allies are not just people who happen to be where you are or who happen to be doing the same things you do. You choose allies deliberately for a reason. The kind of allies you choose says something about you.

Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, William Ayers and Antoin Rezko are not just people who happened to be at the same place at the same time as Barack Obama. They are people with whom he chose to ally himself for years, and with some of whom some serious money changed hands.

Some gave political support, and some gave financial support, to Obama's election campaigns, and Obama in turn contributed either his own money or the taxpayers' money to some of them. That is a familiar political alliance-- but an alliance is not just an "association" from being at the same place at the same time.

Obama could have allied himself with all sorts of other people. But, time and again, he allied himself with people who openly expressed their hatred of America. No amount of flags on his campaign platforms this election year can change that.

Unfortunately, all that most people know about Barack Obama is his own rhetoric and that of his critics. Moreover, some of his more irresponsible critics have made wild accusations-- that he is not an American citizen or that he is a Muslim, for example.
All that such false charges do is discredit Obama's critics in general. Fortunately, there is a documented, factual account of what Barack Obama has actually been doing over the years, as distinguished from what he has been saying during this election campaign, in a new best-selling book.

That book is titled "The Case Against Barack Obama" by David Freddoso. He starts off in the introduction by repudiating those critics of Obama who "have been content merely to slander him-- to claim falsely that he refuses to salute the U.S. flag or was sworn into office on a Koran, or that he was born in a foreign country."

This is a serious book with 35 pages of documentation in the back to support the things said in the main text. In other words, if you don't believe what the author says, he lets you know where you can go check it out.
Barack Obama's being the first serious black candidate for President of the United States is what most people consider remarkable but how he got there is at least equally surprising.

The story of Obama's political career is not a pretty story. He won his first political victory by being the only candidate on the ballot-- after hiring someone skilled at disqualifying the signers of opposing candidates' petitions, on whatever technicality he could come up with.

Despite his words today about "change" and "cleaning up the mess in Washington," Obama was not on the side of reformers who were trying to change the status quo of corrupt, machine politics in Chicago and clean up the mess there. Obama came out in favor of the Daley machine and against reform candidates.

Senator Obama is running on an image that is directly the opposite of what he has been doing for two decades. His escapes from his past have been as remarkable as the great escapes of Houdini.

Why much of the public and the media have been so mesmerized by the words and the image of Obama, and so little interested in learning about the factual reality, was perhaps best explained by an official of the Democratic Party: "People don't come to Obama for what he's done, they come because of what they hope he can be."

David Freddoso's book should be read by those people who want to know what the facts are. But neither this book nor anything else is likely to change the minds of Obama's true believers, who have made up their minds and don't want to be confused by the facts.
_________________________

I couldn’t agree more!
Sadly, I’m afraid this many of those who are enchanted by Obama’s soaring rhetoric are unlikely to check out the facts. But nothing is a more real or more important issue than whether what a candidate says is the direct opposite of what he has actually been doing for years.

The old phrase, "a man of high ideals but no principles," is one that applies all too painfully to Obama today. His words expressing lofty ideals may appeal to the gullible, but his long history of having no principles makes him a danger of the first magnitude in the White House.

Sadly, I’m just afraid that McCain won’t be able to overcome the collapse of Wall Street. To put the crisis in perspective, Americans have lost a combined 1 trillion dollars in net worth in just the last four weeks alone. McCain's road was difficult to begin with: the President of his party has had record-low approval ratings for two years and the number of Americans who say the country is heading in the wrong direction is as one writer described, “stratospheric.” I fear the race is all over.

I still have a small glimmer of hope in the moral “silent majority” and yes my prayer to God is that this man, Obama is defeated. But I fear the worse.
I play to write more in the coming weeks about what I fear will happen in this nation if Obama is indeed elected.

Sincerely,
Robert

Monday, October 6, 2008

When Pumpkins Drink!



















"Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1)

Happy (early) Halloween!!

Robert

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fireproof

The above trailer is for the new movie Fireproof which was the big surprise hit at the box office this weekend with its incredible strong 4th place opening gross of 6.5 M. despite only appearing in 839 screens and costing just $500K.

The movie is the latest from Sherwood Pictures, a nonprofit ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, that previously put out the popular Facing the Giants and the lesser-known Flywheel. The PG film stars the grown-up star of TV’s Growing Pains, Kirk Cameron (now evangelical ministry and actor) and is about a firefighter and his efforts to save his crumbling marriage. I absolutely love the tagline: “Never leave your partner behind.”

Michael Catt, of Sherwood Pictures said, “Most movies are about relationships that lead to marriage, but 'Fireproof' picks up seven years into a marriage headed for divorce. And the question is: Can a cold marriage revive? Why stay together?"

Yes it's no secret that U.S. marriages are in crisis. The U.S. Census Bureau and marriage organizations vary on the stats but agree that nearly half of all weddings lead to divorce—with rates highest in the Bible belt. Some 25 percent of U.S. adults divorce at least once; and given the abundance of poor marriages, many couples skip it outright.

Lord willing, we are planning for several couples from Central to go sometime in the next week or so to see the movie. I do believe that these kinds of movies are worth supporting. I look forward to seeing it with my wife Maggie and other Christian couples.

For Christ,
Robert

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Baptism to Remember

I have had the privilege of performing many baptisms in my ministry as a minister, but never one like in the above video. The minister showed great restraint and grace in his public response. I’m certain his private response was appropriate.

I recall one “memorable” baptism back in the summer of 1997 at Burnt Cabin camp. At the time I was the summer youth intern at Haskell. We attended Fort Gibson’s camp session and Terry Hackworth was the director. One evening a young man from his youth group was baptized by his grandfather in shallow end of the swimming. You could tell that he had probably not done many baptisms. When he went to put immerse his grandson under the water, I don’t know if the boy slipped or if the grandfather lost his footing or what, but the young man turned sideways and needless to say, it was clearly visible and evident to the majority of the witnesses (all the campers and counselors) that he wasn’t completely “immersed.” I was so impressed with how immediately Terry so gracefully and kindly stepped in immediately pointed out the “problem” and asked the grandfather to “do it again” and made a comment to everyone in effect that said we want this young man to fully buried in the waters of baptism as the N.T. instructs and we want it to be certain. I always have greatly admired and respected Terry for having the courage and wisdom to realize and see the need to address this “teaching moment” with these young people and not leave the baptism in doubt or question in anyone’s mind. He used it to draw attention to the fact that baptism is an immersion in water where the old sinful man is buried and a new person arises in Christ. (Rom. 6:3-4)

May each of us viewing this clip take it as an opportunity to remember our own special moment when we were baptized into Christ, having our sins forgiven, and may we embrace a new surge of enthusiasm and joy in Christ.

But like I said, having had many wonderful baptism experiences, there are a few I wish the camera had been rolling. Do you have any memorable or even funny baptism experiences or moments?

In Christ,
Robert

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who is the Greatest?

Ever wonder who is the greatest person? The disciples of Jesus did. They asked Jesus about it in Matthew 18:1, "At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

The reason they wanted to know is because they wanted to find out how they could be the greatest. Pride motivated this question. But Jesus answer surprised them for sure. It was not an answer that human pride, lust or greed would produce. It is the answer of truth, love, and righteousness.

Matthew 18:2 -4 says, "He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."Greatness does not come from wealth, fame, power or even usefulness. Greatness is not determined by what you have to offer or what you have given. Greatness comes from the virtue and character of humility. Hummm! Who knew?

Humbly in Christ,

Robert

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)"

I remember exactly what I was doing on that Tuesday, September morning. I still vividly remember my wife calling my at my church office in Cleveland, OK and telling me I needed to turn on the TV—New York city was being attacked---two planes crashed the World Trade Center – it’s bad! And then like everyone else it seemed all we did for the next few days was watching the news. There are really few events that a happen in a person’s life that they can recall knowing exactly where they were when they heard the news. 9/11 is truly one of them.

And so as our nation prepares to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks later this week, we should all pause to be grateful that our nation has not suffered further attacks since that dreadful day. We should also pray for the families who continue to endure the pain of that day and for those who work to keep our nation safe at home and abroad.

May we never forget!

Warning: This video is a little graphic

God bless,
Robert

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pickin Palin

Warning: This is a political posting! I don’t know about you, but for a Vice Presidential candidate, I’ve been pretty impressed by Sarah Palin, especially how she and her family have held themselves together after over a week of blatant left-wing media lies, gossip, and attacks!! Yes, she still has a little ways to go in proving herself, but so far, I’ve been impressed! Now, what’s funny about her is that if you'll go to this website you can read an excellent article about Palin (http://www.jeffhead.com/Palin), it has the following logo at the bottom: Now that is exactly what my wife Maggie, told me the other night with a smile!! I’m wondering if there will be many more American women (and men) out there feeling and doing the same!

Here are just some things I have noted about her.

1: She speaks for small town America- that elitist’s like to attack (and even Obama has done during the primaries).

2. She appeals to conservative voters- seems to have real conservative Christian values and beliefs and she most certainly set the example regarding her views on abortion.

3. She is someone who is a smart debater and is not intimidated by the media or male politicians.

4. She is someone who actually had a real job before she went into politics.

5. She is someone who got there without the vast political machines.

6. She is someone who has never been connected with crazed racist preachers, terrorists turned university lecturers, corrupt convicted slum lords, or looney fringe groups.

7. She is a smart, articulate, honest, good living politician who happens to be a woman.

8. She is someone who is not tied to big city media elites, celebrity culture, Hollywood stars. In other words somebody with whom we can identify.

9. People see a politician who is NOT afraid to take on her own party to break the old boy network and expose corruption.

10. She is someone who has more experience in actual government from running a small town (great grass roots training) to governor of a state which is MORE experience than Barack Obama has had.

11. She appeals to blue collar voters who see a family who has got somewhere through hard work by both parents.

12. I think we as taxpayers see a politician who returned state money to the tax payer instead of spending it on grandiose projects.

13. She is a governor of an energy rich state with a realistic view about drilling oil and will provide real leadership to our energy crisis.

14. She is a working Moms with kids, working Mom with a handicapped kid. A working mom with a husband who has done physical labor for a living.

Bottom line for me, I’m voting for McCain/Palin because I think they are best for this country out of the two tickets and yes, my concerns are also rightly summed up below as seen on this bumper sticker: Smile now!!

Kind of scary and makes you wonder if it’s prophetic!!!

Seriously, regardless of who you actually vote for, and regardless of who wins, no one man (or woman) can bring about the change this country so badly needs! Until the kingdom of God is the rule of Jesus as Lord in the hearts and the lives of men and women (Col. 3:15; Eph. 3:17), things won’t ultimately change for the good. I just wish all Christians had the same level of energy, excitement and enthusiasm for teaching and sharing the good news of Jesus as they do talking and debating politics.

We should understand that as Christians our greatest impact, influence in this life, is as a citizen of God’s kingdom! And whoever becomes President, will need our prayers because the Bible tells us that this world is not our home and the kingdom (i.e., nation) that is our chief concern is heaven and so we want to pray for our country’s leaders so that they may lead us toward peace and righteousness. (1 Peter 2:1-2) In the meantime, we can have a little fun and healthy debate about who might do this the best for our nation!

May God bless us all richly in Christ,

Robert

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Cheering For Christ

I don't know about you, but I had so much fun watching the Olympics – gymnastics, track and field, girl’s softball, the “redeem team” (men’s basketball), and of course, the one person who has captured the hearts of millions - Michael Phelps. His story has truly been such an inspiration and a prime example that anything is possible when you put your heart and soul into a dream and work for it.

Yet, the article written below is full of great spiritual insights and offers a wonderful spiritual perspective and take on the whole Phelps phenomena. It is written by Mark Altrogge, who is a singer and songwriter and is the author of many well known worship songs as “I Stand In Awe”, and “In The Presence.” He so elegantly writes about truly the greatest victory of all time. I am so thankful for the cross.

Robert
___________________________

No Cheering For Christ by Mark Altrogge

Sunday night, along with millions of others, I watched Michael Phelps make Olympic history by winning his eighth gold medal. Imagine the cheering around the world. Thousands in the stands, and millions watching TV, celebrating one of the greatest sports accomplishments ever.

But the greatest victory of all time was won all alone in darkness with no one cheering. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

When Jesus cried these desolate words from the cross he was achieving the triumph of the ages. But he wasn’t in a stadium surrounded by applauding fans shouting for him to go for it. The only similarity to Sunday was that Jesus’ mother was there watching, but she couldn't see the victory Jesus was winning, for great darkness covered the land, and great spiritual darkness engulfed Jesus’ soul.

His disciples had forsaken him, and Peter had denied him three times. No one spoke up in his defense in the mock trial that condemned him. No one came to rescue him when the Roman soldiers shredded his back with their bone and metal-studded whips. No one objected to them pounding spikes into his hands and feet. No outcry was raised at the injustice of an innocent man impaled on a tree between two criminals. But worst of all, not even his Father would raise a hand to spare him.

Alone in the darkness, Jesus drained the foaming cup of God’s wrath against sin.

Instead of fans cheering him on, the crowd mocked and insulted him. Instead of encouraging him, they spit on him and jeered him. Even the angels of heaven probably watched in stunned silence as the Father crushed his own Son.

And when Jesus finally won his victory, there was no earthly celebration. No shouts of joy. No one pumping their hands in the air or hugging each other. No one screaming, “This is incredible! We’ve never seen anything like this! We’re witnessing history today! This will never be topped!” The only recognition Jesus received came from the lips of a Roman centurion who had rammed a spear into Jesus’ side: “Truly, this was the Son of God.”

But the moment Jesus uttered, “It is finished,” heaven must have erupted in the greatest celebration since Jesus’ birth. This was truly the greatest victory of all time. God’s furious wrath toward his children quenched forever. Millions of saints ransomed. Sin atoned for, ultimately to be destroyed forever. Everlasting righteousness ushered in for God’s children. Satan conquered and his doom sealed for good.

No earthly cheers were heard the day Christ died. But we’ll be cheering forever for the Lamb in heaven:

Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” (RE 5.9-10)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama-McCain Faith Forum & Politics in the Church

In case you didn't hear, CNN aired a two hour Q&A session between Rick Warren, John McCain, and Barack Obama. Each candidate sat down with the mega-church pastor to discuss various topics such as faith, domestic policy, international relations, and personal motivations.

Here's what I thought about the whole thing and each candidate's responses.

First of all,

Rick Warren and the Overall Scene – I must admit that I'm no Rick Warren fan. I have read “The Purpose Driven Church” and “Purpose Driven Life” and I won’t offer any major review of critique of the books at this moment, except to say that overall, these books are not proper Christian teaching for many reasons. As a matter of fact, in the coming weeks on my blog I will be taking a closer look at people like Warren and other widely popular so called, “Evangelical Christian authors and leaders” who I believe are dangerously introducing and promoting a social gospel message (poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate change and human rights, etc.) Now, this isn’t to say that some of these matters aren’t serious nor are unimportant to our God and shouldn't be addressed in ministry and missionary work. But, these are being mixed into the pure soul saving gospel of Jesus Christ. My bottom line problem with so many of these guys like Rick Warren is that they think that by treating the symptoms of sin in the world that all will be well with the world. There is no truth in that! What is really happening is that they are defining “evangelicalism” down by moving it away from its emphasis on the power of the gospel to change human lives to a social gospel of man curing all the ills of the world. And guess who ends up receiving all the glory? Your correct, man, not God! (More To Come in the Future!)

But, overall, I must admit that Warren did a good job of setting an informal, inviting environment. It was clearly non-partisan with Rick Warren openly calling for a return to civility in politics and intelligent discourse. He also identified each candidate as a friend and did a great job of treating them as such during the interviews. Even though Warren didn’t cover it all, he did accomplish more than anyone else has so far in unpacking who the two candidates really are. And hopefully the secular media will learn from his example on how political candidates really should be interviewed.

Obama's Interview - The man is amazing at not answering questions. While I have never been a fan of Barack, I have also never been a big fan of McCain. So, I had little personal investment in their answers. I found myself getting frustrated with Obama for rarely actually answering the question directly. Each question, for the most part, was directed at the candidate on a personal level. Rarely, if ever, did he answer the question on the same personal level in which they were asked. He almost always expanded it to some broader concept. On more hot-button issues, like abortion, Obama was quick to offer a self-excusing answer epitomized by his "above my pay grade" answer to when an unborn child receives human rights. Overall, I wasn't too impressed with Obama. He didn't shoot himself in the foot or anything, and I doubt this interview will cause many people to question their support for him. However, this was a great chance to emotionally, maybe even spiritually, connect with a lot of people who aren't sure about him. I doubt he took advantage of that opportunity.

McCain's Interview - Now, I have also never been a big fan of McCain. I thought he was a liberal in conservative's clothing, but I am starting to rethink that. McCain was personable, thoughtful, straight-forward, and funny. For a man who has never been comfortable talking about his faith openly, McCain clearly and sincerely spoke about his faith and meaningful moments in his spiritual journey. His answers, his words and approach, allowed me to see past the politician. I saw a passionate, confident, determined man.

I wasn't thrilled with his brief acquiescence to vague civil union talk. McCain was equally unequivocal on his stance on marriage: “A union is between man and woman — between one man and one woman,” but added “that doesn’t mean people can’t enter into legal agreements.” Obama said much the same, although he said he supports civil unions for gay partners. He said he would not support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage because the issue is one for state governments to handle.

But, other than that, McCain’s answers resonated with me. I found myself laughing out loud with him, imagining what it must have been like in a POW camp as he refused to be released just because his dad was a high-ranking officer, and sharing in his joy as he spoke of a guard in the same POW camp who secretly provided McCain with some relief and later revealed himself to be a believer. I have a pretty strong feeling that I am not the only person who connected with McCain. In light of McCain's recent surge in polls, and these events, I'm beginning to find some ray of hope for McCain in November.

Bottom line, if you haven't watched the interview, I would encourage you to try to find a rerun of it on CNN or go to Youtube and watch the video segments.

Now, let me comment overall on the current trend of the church and “Christian leaders” getting more and more caught up in politics. I think in far too many places the church is getting involved too deeply in politics. Many now think they can join with the world and shape the political world system. But I'm afraid we need to be reminded that the church’s only goal is to save the soul, not to win an elections. We are not citizens of this earth, only strangers and sojourners.

I think we need to be reminded in light of the upcoming election that as Christians, people of God, that our greatest impact, influence in this life, is as a citizen of God’s kingdom–member of God’s kingdom. Now, having said that, yes, I do think it does need to be said, as Christians, we have the opportunity, in this nation, to use the political system. We are tremendously blessed to live in a nation where we’re able to voice our opinions; have input; vote; Many people in this world, don’t enjoy that kind of blessing. So Christians can use that political system to shine as lights in the world and to help encourage and promote righteousness. (Proverbs 14:34) But, once again, always remember that our greatest influence, impact is as a Christian, not as a member of a political party.

And so in light of all this and with my strong note of caution about the church getting too mixed up into politics, I offer the following article below written this week in light of Rick Warren’s Faith Forum. It’s written by Star Parker, who is the current president of Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education. Parker converted to Christianity and began her life as an activist. Parker, an African-American woman, spent her formative years as an unemployed mother receiving welfare; she was arrested in her teens for shoplifting and has disclosed that she had four abortions. Parker is an active spokeswoman for conservative Christian political issues. She makes some excellent points on Rick Warren’s current political events at Saddleback Church that few have criticized. I hope it challenges you and makes you think as it did me.

____________________________

Pastor Warren: Stop Politicizing Religion: By Star Parker

For whatever good intentions Pastor Warren may have, by posturing as a neutral broker between different points of view, many of which have profound moral and religious implications, he contributes to the moral ambiguity we’d expect a pastor to be combating.

We have institutions for civic and political forums. The press, universities, town halls, etc. If they’re not delivering well, let the marketplace work to improve what we’re getting. But this is not the job of pastors or churches. If it is, where do we go to learn about good and evil?

What exactly is going on in America when our obsession is to cleanse every inch of public space from religion, yet somehow we think it is appropriate to bring a presidential political forum into church?

Our kids can’t pray in public school, or read the Bible or learn to apply traditional values in managing their lives. The Ten Commandments cannot appear in our courthouses. A crèche cannot be displayed in a public space during Christmas.

Yet somehow we think a church is an appropriate forum for hosting candidates for president?

Our world is turning upside down. Rather than raising our public and private lives to a higher moral standard, we’re politicizing religion.
It’s actually worse, I think.

The pretense of neutrality is really a left-wing illusion. It’s a sleight of hand to buy into relativism, and somehow Pastor Warren seems to have fallen into the trap.

When a pastor hosts a political candidate that has a 100 percent rating by NARAL Pro-Choice America and a 0 percent rating by the National Right to Life Committee, he gives legitimacy to that candidate. When legitimacy is given to a line of reasoning that says that poverty and AIDS are symptoms of anything other than moral breakdown, the relativist views of the left are justified.

To a disproportionate measure, when we are talking about poverty and AIDS in America, we are talking about black communities. These communities are in disarray because of moral ambiguity. They not only need moral clarity and leadership, they crave it.

Partisanship is not our problem today. Healthy partisanship is vital to freedom.
Our problem is moral ambiguity. Anyone that thinks this ambiguity is helpful in addressing poverty, crime and disease is misinformed.

We need political leaders that are more moral. Not church leaders that are more political.
_____________________________

Think about it. What do you have to say??

God bless,
Rob Prater

Friday, August 15, 2008

Before He Speaks

Peter said that husbands must live with their wives in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7). This is especially true for those of us who preach! This little video is really funny, but it hit home to me and maybe it will for you too! I understand that this video was recently featured on Headline News!

Enjoy,

Robert

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Keep Your Signal Strong!

There is nothing more frustrating that dropping an important cell phone call. Debate rages over which cell phone company offers the strongest and most reliable signal. Our relationship to God might be compared to a cell phone conversation with the Almighty. We are able to hear God speak to us through is word (cf. Heb. 1:1-2, 4:12). We are able to speak with God through prayer (cf. Phil. 4:6). As we consistently listen to God speak to us through His Word and we speak to Him through prayer, our cell signal to heaven remains at full strength. When the days come that we get out of the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer, the signal begins to weaken. Keeping our spiritual signal with the tower in heaven strong is essential to spiritual health. This is a modern way of explaining what the Bible calls "walking in the light" (see 1 John 1). We must continue walking in the light; we must keep the cell signal with God strong. Our conversation with God is one call that we do not want to drop.

God Bless,

Robert

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

IT'S BEEN A WHILE.....

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – but over the past three weeks my life has been consumed with two very important matters – one, VBS, and the other vacationing! First, concerning VBS. For the most part, the first half of July usually in my life and ministry is almost entirely focused upon VBS.

Every year around this time, the Prater house becomes a little obsessed with Vacation Bible School - in my defense, it is kind of part of my job. (And I guess there are worse things to be obsessed with). It so interesting to me the different perspectives people have about VBS - tired teachers, thankful parents, frustrated tech guys, and people who know that the results of VBS are worth all of the work that goes into it!

Why am I telling you guys this? Because I believe that VBS makes a difference. And I know it’s hard work for VBS directors (and their wives), teachers, and volunteers, but I know that the results make it worth all of the work that you do. So be encouraged, and when you get frustrated, or overwhelmed, or you just can’t get the Boaster song out of your head, remember the opportunity you have to change kids lives forever.

We had a tremendous opportunity to share God's Word with these precious souls. We averaged 86 kids (only counting kids) each day. On Friday evening we had over 200 attend our House Open Program. So many of these were guests and visitors who have never been to our church before.

Following the week of VBS, the Prater family took some much needed rest and “getting away from it all.” The first part of last week was spent in Shawnee around the house – cleaning house, just playing with the kids. We did accomplish some much needed “summer” cleaning and cleanup/organizing of our garage. I also was able to do so over neglected yard work one day as well. Then, on Wednesday, we traveled to Tulsa to “drop the kids off” with grandma and grandpa and Maggie and on Thursday morning drove to Dallas where we spent some seriously needed alone and quiet time together. It was so nice to be alone and not having children tugging on you and crying, etc. and as well to just do whatever we wanted to do - no real plans, schedules, etc. On Friday evening, I surprised Maggie by having us picked up at the Hotel by a chauffeur service in a very nice black Lincoln Executive car where the driver took us on fabulous tour of the mansion and beautiful homes in the Dallas Preston area. We then drove out to the beautiful Lake Hubbard where there were a number of shops, nice restaurants, and a beautiful walking trail near the lake. It was truly a special night to be alone and spend some time telling the woman I married just how special and how much she means to my life.

We came back to Tulsa late Saturday evening and attended worship on Sunday morning with Maggie’s family at Carbondale and Sunday evening with my mom and grandparents at Okmulgee before heading back to Shawnee late Sunday evening.

We enjoyed a great week of time off and rest. It's during this time of the middle of the year right after most of the busy summer season that am also in need of some time to evaluate life, ministry, family, and the future. I critically needed to spend some time with God and His Word instead of making sure I am blogging.
Now, it’s time to get back to work.

Below are some pictures of VBS that just highlight the amazing week we had. I hope to be able to post more pictures later and I'm stilling working on posting now still both the Camp and VBS picture slideshow. Be patient. I'll eventually get it posted.

God bless










Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Riding the Fence

God through His faithful prophet Elijah, called His people, and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." (1 Kings 18:21)

Elijah accuses Israel of wavering between two opinions. Israel was trying to have it two ways at once. Israel was trying to serve God and Baal at the same time. Israel was trying to having an altar to God right beside an altar to Baal. Israel's policy here was one of tolerance: she was trying to tolerate two religions at the same time.

Elijah challenges Israel to make up her mind. Elijah challenges Israel to stop limping back and forth. Israel is told to stop her waffling and wavering and wiggling between two positions. Israel is challenged to make a choice. Israel is like a traveler on a journey. She has reached a fork in the road. She must now decide which way to go: whether to the left or the right.

I cannot help but notice that many people today are like Israel at Mount Carmel. The cry of postmodern thinking is that we must "tolerate" everything. Every "alternative lifestyle," worldview, or personal belief must be viewed as equally valid, we are told. The cardinal sin of our age is daring to offend someone else.

The result of this type of thinking is that no one seems to be courageous enough to take a stand for anything. We attempt to placate everyone and speak out of both sides of our mouth. No one seems to be confident in their beliefs or bold enough to take a firm position.

The devil loves this. Toleration is a ploy used by him to suck in the people of God. After all, who wants to be accused of intolerance? In today's world and culture, intolerance is the biggest and worst sin. But as Paul tells us, what connection is there between righteousness and wickedness, light and darkness, Christ and Belial? (2 Cor 6:14ff)

Although postmodern Americans tend to "hesitate between two opinions" there is some indication that people are now hungering for people who are bold enough to be "straight shooters." Whether or not you agree with these people, the popularity of Dr. Phil, Bill O'Reilly, and even Rosie O'Donnell demonstrates that we long for people to stop dancing around issues and "tell it how it is."

Christians should not be crass and tactless. We must always let our "speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person" (Colossians 4:6). This is a principle that many outspoken television hosts forget. However, while we are careful to speak with compassion we must also be bold and confident in our convictions.

So yes Elijah confronts us today with the same challenge he confronted Israel with: "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." What do you think? How are we being tempted and even willing more and more today to believe and practice toleration at the expense of truth?

For Christ,
Rob Prater

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Churchgoer vs. Christian part 2

Another video Spoof video on the Mac vs. PC ads from the Southern Hills Church of Christ.

All joking aside, I do see the end to the statis quo church goer mentality and now living in a post-Christian culture who doesn't go to or want to at all. Dan Kimball in his book "They Liked Jesus but not the Church" shines light on this important issue. Many people are okay with Jesus and all but going to church is viewed by them as a waste of time. Church is not connecting to a generation who Desperately needs Christ' church. I think it is going to take the influence of the "Christian" in this video for that to happen. Truly a living, breathing witness and testimony to the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.

May God help us to live out the words of the apostle Paul, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." (Colossians 4:5)

For Christ,

Rob Prater

Friday, June 27, 2008

Churchgoer vs. Christian

I found this video from a fellow blogger. Thought it was pretty good food for thought. Loved the reference to 728B! This video is part of a series of video presentations from the Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas promoting their Summer HIP (High Impact Praise) time which focuses on being the Jesus Next Door to our Neighbors. It is obviously a spoof on the Mac vs. PC commercials. But the video challenges us to consider whether we are simply “church-goers” or if we live everyday lives that reflect the life of Jesus. Click on the video and check it out. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think.

For Christ,

Robert

Thursday, June 19, 2008

CAMP

Last week was Central’s session at Burnt Cabin Christian Camp. It was a tremendous success this year. We had 156 campers and a staff of 34 join us for a fun and spiritually-uplifting week of camp. I made many wonderful new friends. Christians I didn’t know, now I love. Counselors who were genuine, caring, and real. We shared the sunrise, the games, and classes; singing praises to Him never felt so sweet. This truly was a life-changing week at Lake Tenkiller. Beginning with a tremendous staff, including many first year ones and several zealous college students. Youth Groups from places like Central and Northridge in Shawnee, Choctaw, Tenth & Rockford & Crosstown in Tulsa, Cleveland, Clinton, AR, Bixby, Perkins, and even some from Texas!!

As always our Bible classes served as the bedrock of our camp along with devotionals and worship periods (we heard some great classes and lessons straight from the heart and Truth from the Word), Bible Bowl, memory verses, etc. helped everyone focus on iGod – the need to be connected with God. Plus canteen, sports, and great fun entertainment (Secret Talents of the Counselors, Unbound and Skit Night). And did I mention the inspiring singing. There were plenty of timely hugs of encouragement, and Christian role models draw out the best as Satan is turned away.

I am constantly amazed at the impact camp can and does have in the lives of so many. Does it cost a lot of money to put on a camp? Yes! Does it take a lot of man hours from many volunteers to maintain and conduct the camp? Yes! Is it all worth it? That can be easily answered by asking, “What are the souls of our young people worth?”

Now camps like this do not just happen. A lot of people invested time, energy, and effort to make this week a reality. I am especially grateful to all those from Central who helped so much to make this week a great success. I thank God for your service in this effort.

Once again this year, our own Nathan Kelly put together a terrific camp slideshow. Graet job Nat! I hope to be able to post this slideshow on this blog or some other website and many other camp photos online. Keep checking back for updates.

Here are a few pictures in the meantime.












God bless,
Rob Prater

Friday, June 6, 2008

BURNT CABIN CHRISTIAN CAMP

Our camp session out a Burnt Cabin Camp on Lake Tenkiller near Tahlequah, OK begins Sunday! We are expecting one of our largest numbers ever with around 180-190 people (campers & staff). Keep us all in your prayers that we may have a safe, fun and spiritually uplifting week in the Lord. The congregation here at Central is so very generous in supporting this camp week. I’m thankful to my elders for support and encourage they give us. .

I thought I'd share a quick post. Here are ten things I've loved about church camp at Burnt Cabin.

• Singing with all your heart – I love the awesome singing.
• I love the fact that fun and faith CAN go in the same sentence.
• Breakfast cereals - every Day at camp, there are about 4 or 5 cereals
available.
• Canteen!! (Need I say more)
• Great Bible classes and lessons! (This year we are studying about iGod – being
connected to God and looking at the life of David)
• Renewing old friendships and making new ones.
• Sports time
• Senior Hike on Friday night
• Late night talks
• Finally, I love about camp the fact that after spending a week with these young
people, it always makes me realize that the church has a BRIGHT future!!!

So, there will be no blogs next week – but I’ll tell you all about it when I get back!

Until next time…

Rob Prater

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Return to Modesty

I always know when summer has arrived. No, not because of the days with highs in the 90's. I know by seeing the return of spaghetti straps, bare midriffs, and unbelievably short shorts. This immodest choice of clothing is to be expected among those of the world, but it is disturbing to see it so prominent among self professed Christian women. God's word has not changed and the command is still written, "I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly...as is proper for women making a claim to godliness" (1 Tim. 2:9-10). These words clearly demand we dress in an appropriate and modest fashion and prohibit the indecent exposure of one’s body.

Clothing reflects the character of a person. (Read 1 Peter 3:1-6) Genesis 38:13-18 gives the account of Tamar putting off her widows garments and putting on the garments of a harlot. When she did this, not only was she treated like a harlot but she acted like one. Proverbs 7:10 speaks of the harlot’s attire as well. Shouldn’t this cause the Christian to admit provocative, sexually explicit clothing invites sexual activity? Besides, what message is being sent to a lost world when Christian women (men as well), who profess themselves to be godly, dress in sexually provocative clothing? As Christians we are the salt and light of the world. (Mt. 5:13-16)

But it is shocking to see the clothes that teens (and even pre-teens) are wearing these days. It is likely that teens are obsessed with "looking sexy" because their mothers have obsessed over this as well. May we return to the Bible, and may we (to borrow from Shalit's book) "return to modesty." Let me recommend the following reading on this topic for your consideration:

Read Margery Eagan's column in the Boston Herald (3/22/07) titled "Oh, Mothers! Just Act Your Age!"
Read Wendy Shalit's book A Return to Modesty (available from Amazon.com)
Read Wendy Shalit's NEW book Girls Gone Mild (available from Amazon.com)
Read Jeff Pollard's little booklet Christian Modesty and the Undressing of America (available from Amazon.com).

God help us to be the salt and light of the world,
Robert

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cinderella - Steven Curtis Chapman

Many of you know who musician Steven Curtis Chapman is because he has been one of the more recognizable names in the Christian music industry for almost two decades. Steven and his wife have three children and have adopted three children from China because they really have a passion for helping kids.

Yesterday news broke about a terrible tragedy striking their family when their teenage son backed out of the driveway of their house while the family was playing outside and didn't see his 5 year old sister. Sadly, he backed over his little sister they had adopted from China and she was killed.

As I'm sure you can imagine the family is devastated and in need of a lot of prayer. Events like this really make us once again face the fact we aren't promised another minute and to treasure this life God has given us and live it for Him.

Chapman had said about his song “Cinderella”, “This song was inspired by my two youngest girls. One night I was giving them a bath and trying to get them in bed. I was hurrying and became frustrated. After I got the girls in bed, God convicted me not to miss these moments because kids grow up so quickly. The song is called ‘Cinderella.’

So news of this tragedy was a powerful reminder to me as a parent to find the wisdom in his song “Cinderella.” Listen and watch it by playing the above video. Now is the time to practice the dancin’ — while she’s still in my arms.

I especially think about my middle daughter, Mackenzie who is 4 and has lately really being "pushing" and testing me and my wife’s patience and nerves. Yet, she is truly our little “Cinderella” in the house – she loves the princess characters from all the Disney movies and sings them with all our precious heart. God help me to be more patient, understanding, tolerant and loving toward her. She brings us so much joy and happiness to our lives. I need to take the time and stop and see it more in her little life. Daddy loves you so very much Mackenzie.

Also, another note of tragedy, I read today China is saying there are over 4,000 new orphans because of the earth quake. So many children without parents in a country that is so far from God.

May the Lord Jesus Christ bless and keep you all in this lost and fallen world

Robert Prater

Monday, May 19, 2008

Indiana Jones is Back!

Growing up in the 80's, Indiana Jones has always been one of my favorite movie heroes. I’m posting this trailer which previews the newest installment, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" Check it out! It looks awesome!

We've been waiting since 1989 to see the fedora back in action! Indiana Jones IV hits the theaters nationwide on May 22. I’m hoping me and my middle brother can see it this weekend in Tulsa when my family will up for the long Memorial Day weekend. My older brother might come with us except the one little “small matter” of his wife giving birth to their second child on Friday. Their so excited to be expecting their first son. I’ve also got a brother and sister-in-law expecting their first son in September, so I think the “next generation” of young boys who will grow up admiring, watching and playing “Indian Jones” in their backyards will live on!!

Robert

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Acappella Lord Save Me

Another new music video from Acappella. From their latest CD release RADIANCE. The song is called, "Lord, Save Me."

This video has such great positive Christian energy! It's fun to be a Christian and in the fellowship of excited believers! Great song, great performance, great video!

Hope you enjoy,

Robert

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

REDNECK EVANGELISM?














There are plenty of bad church signs out there, but this "Get'r Done" sign made me laugh. Made me think of "Larry the Cable Guy."

Have you seen any funny church signs or religious bumper stickers?

Robert

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Tribute to Mom

This is a hilarious video of what a mom would say to her kids in one day condensed in 2:50 minutes!

I do thank God for my mother, who brought me up in the truth and example of Christ; my wife, who is a loving and perceptive mother to our three children (and so often to me as well); and my mother-in-law, who always just seems to know when and how we need something.

God bless all you wonderful moms and may you have a Happy Mother's Day!!

Enjoy,

Robert