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Hello fellow quarantined-at-home friends. How about adding some radio to your day? Please check out KHCB 105.7FM for Prayer Time on Wednesday at 10AM. If you’re out of our listening area, you can go online at https://www.khcb.org/wp/listen-now/ Sorry, there is no delay recording yet. Stay tuned and I will upload these as podcasts on http://www.brucefong.com. See you on the air!

Unknown-10Many of my years on earth have been lived without a pastor. It wasn’t that I did not embrace my Christian faith or was out fishing on Sunday morning. Many years of my adult life was being the pastor.

During those countless weeks of giving my soul away to others, I have great memories of spiritual renewal, lives changed for all eternity, and deep-seated friendships. Oh, there were trying times, goofy people, and strange “Christian behavior” but why linger on those rare terrible moments?

After so many years of living without a pastor, I am relishing being a part of a healthy church with an outstanding pastor. Pastor Gregg Matte handles the Word very well, he is a godly leader, and he loves God as well as his people. It is easy for me to give my heart to him.

(By the way, every Christian that is committed to doing church the right way, should give their heart to their pastor. Just saying…)

During these horrible and scary days of the world-wide pandemic, putting my shoulder to the wheel of whatever wagon Pastor Gregg identifies is very satisfying.  For us as a church we all are passionate to make a difference in our great city of Houston. Our church body is incredibly active in our city, our country, and around the world.

Has this national quarantine disrupted our involvement? No. Our church has gone online so that we are in compliance to the guidelines of our authorities. Nevertheless, our church’s active ministry keeps going on under our pastor’s tireless leadership.

Pastor Gregg Matte is studied up and fired up as he teaches the Bible to us. His leadership applications and challenges are spot on and invigorating. Worship is engulfing. Sure, I miss the smiles, warm handshakes, bright eyes of friends, and the sounds of many people gathering. But, those times will eventually return. We will get through this.

Then, God will show us what he has been doing all this time. The products of these world-wide moments of sequestering will likely surprise us. Then, the whole world will better know that he is truly Almighty.

photo by brucefong photography

Unknown-5“Going to church” has been a part of our routine for decades. We don’t think about it, make adjustments for it, or wonder about other Sunday options. “Going to church” is the schedule and everything else is planned around it.

Family times, lunch times, concert choices, hobby moments, and phone calls all take a back seat to this standard calendar appointment. It is not a pain. Nor is it an inconvenience. “Going to church” is an event that we eagerly look forward to being a part of our weekly experience.

We have been down the road of many creative adventures when it comes to “Going to church.” Three times I have been a part of a new church plant. Jumping in on something brand new added a massive adventure to “Going to church.”

Many times I was the pastor and led the way to “Going to church”. It was a huge part of my life, married life, and family’s life. Few humans will ever know how much a pastor and his wife give to the church where they shepherd a flock of people.

Home Church is a fun way to gather the membership during the week. Some call it by different names but it is similar. These gatherings have been called “small groups”, “Life Bible Studies”, “Cell groups”, “Home Fellowships”, and the list goes on.

During this worldwide pandemic due to Covid-19 the phrase “Going to church” has not called for a new invention for the membership. It is not even a dusting off and an old idea stored in the archives. Instead, it has been a simple “spinning up” of what most churches already do.

Providentially, the world-wide web gives us an option. We log in to be a part of great worship, pray together via the internet for great needs and collective intercession, and hear the Biblical teaching from our pastor. It is eternal life manifesting itself through great hearts eager to be a part of what the Almighty God is doing in our world.

“Going to church” is simple for us now. No commute is necessary. My wife and I sit at our dining table, open our Bibles, and boot up our I-pad. It’s a genuine and live option during our compliance to “stay at home”.

photo by brucefong photography

Unknown-4Houston is famous as a world-class city for many reasons: leader in oil related business, famous medical center, outstanding center for music and the arts, hub for international trade, and home of many of the nation’s largest faith centers. It is also known for its traffic. This many hotspots for commerce and community emphases attracts millions of people to live and engage in transactions here.

Now, that so many of us are sequestered in our homes to do our business, we are forced to adapt. Houstonians adjust with creativity and turn our limited mobility into time investments. Just removing the daily commute from our schedules allows us to add two new hours into our routine.

Stress from wading into traffic is immediately dissipated. A more tranquil spirit launches us into free-spirited work endeavors. I find myself working faster, more efficiently, and with fewer distractions.

Proof of my increased productivity is my email inbox screen. It is empty! I am current with all of my conversations, complete with all of the requests, done with new endeavors. Four times today, I have been able to respond almost immediately to new inquiries and smile over and over at my empty screen.

There is so much bad news, concerning updates, and scary stories over the outlet stations that I am quite happy to cut broadcast times to a mere 30 minutes a day. The extra time allows me to invest those moments back into work productivity as well. God gave us time; let’s use what he gave us remembering that it is a non-renewable resource. Use time well and we will marvel at how productive we will be.

photo by brucefong photography

UnknownIt’s that time. Do you want to hear a voice with a face made for radio? To be honest, my radio voice isn’t all that great either. But, my heart is sincere and the Word of God is fantastic! Furthermore, prayer is still working.

Please jump into FM105.7 at 10AM Central for Prayer Time. If you are not in the area, then you can go online https://www.khcb.org/wp/listen-now/. That is a great option but it is only a “real time” option. There is no delayed audio for KHCB.

Eventually, I will transfer the programs to podcasts. You can check those out on my webpage: http://www.brucefong.com. 

Did you know that KHCB, the call letters to this station, stand for “Keeping Him Close By”. The station keeps God close through the Word, the Bible. Pretty cool, eh?

Hopefully, we can connect with each other on the radio each Wednesday this month in April 2020. See you on the air! Joy!

photo by bruce fong photography

IMG_0548A radio personality becomes a household name to their adoring fans. Their popularity earns them the right syndication and scores of radio stations clamoring for contracts. Often their voices are linked to their unseen faces due to media stories and social media.

A simple reality, however, is overlooked by the radio audience. There are a lot more hours in a day or week than is covered by these few broadcast experts. What happens during those broadcast moments?

That’s where amateurs like me get into the picture. We receive the invitation by a station to record programs that they need covered. There is no personal name attached to the program nor are there lucrative endorsements by sponsors filling up my mailbox.

Instead, it is the sheer joy of helping a station and maybe being a blessing to the listeners who happen to tune in at the right time. During my broadcasts, I try and imagine the faces of the people who might tune in. Maybe you are one of those people.

I actually lock eyes with these imaginary people. In my mind I see a home, notice the nick knacks on their coffee table, note the worn Bible that they are using during our study together. If a glimmer of a smile or a bright countenance due to understanding occur then, I am thrilled.

My position at the studio is all made possible by servant-driven professionals. They are gracious, patient, and cheerful. If I need any help they are quick to lend a hand and never make me feel like an inconvenience.

Of course, I only touch what I am instructed to touch. The temptation to do more is so low. I want to get invited back.

By the way, if you happen to tune in and are blessed, then, please let me or the station know. It is encouraging to hear from the listeners. Until the next broadcast, see you on the radio!

photo by bfong photography

Zoom 2020My calendar is relentless. A major responsibility with my job is keeping on top of our seminary calendar. In addition I layer my travel calendar on top of that.

To make my coming days successful, I make sure that communication is a friend and not a regret. Lots of people need to be kept “in the know” in order for plans to run smoothly. This means that meetings have to happen.

Now, with the judicial decision to “shelter at home” and our commitment to live in compliance, our seminary team members in Houston are staying at home. This dreaded highly contagious Covid-19 virus is horrible. Containing it in order to help our health care professionals from being overwhelmed is the least that all of us citizens can do.

Talented personnel with knowledge of cyberspace options, made it possible for us to convene a Zoom meeting. Everyone was at their home. Nevertheless, armed with a computer, each was able to log into a meeting room.

I could see each of their faces via video. Their audio was clear and anyone could jump into the conversation when they wanted. It was informative, fun, and moving.

Not only did we distribute essential information but we personally connected and made sure that everyone on the team had the care that they needed. Our souls connected beyond this world as well. While the pandemic has strained the world’s resources, we went beyond this world and entreated our supreme hope, our Heavenly Father.

Prayer is real. It works because the Almighty God who made all things is as personal as your closest friend. He provides, protects, and guarantees. Everything is under his control.

In cyberspace we visited supernatural space. There we took the concerns of our earthly world and placed them at the feet of the ONE who holds all things in this world together. Comforted and cheered we signed off and returned to our solitude and submitted our work online.

What an amazing time in which we live.

photo by bfong photography 

 

Unknown-1It doesn’t take much to go batty when we are sequestered in our own homes. Not unlike voluntary house arrest, we get cabin-fever. After a few short days and suddenly realizing that there is no end in sight, we blow a gasket or two.

Add to that the explosive phenomenon  of children who require home schooling. My wife is a school teacher and found a humorous take on this unplanned necessity for one parent. With her two grade school children at home and forced to teach them, this one parent reported on her first day: “One student expelled, the other suspended, and the teacher is drinking a lot.”

Dramatic individuals have produced home videos of goofy antics, musical comedies, and trying long stored recipes for dinner. Others have faced the sobering reality of Corvid 19 invading the life of a loved one, small businesses on the brink of bankruptcy, or small churches struggling for survival.

May I give all of you an invitation? Please, tune into KHCB FM105.7 or listen on line at https://www.khcb.org/wp/listen-now/ every Wednesday in April about 10AM Central. The program is Prayertime.

On my drive into the station I was marveling at the absence of a piece of Houston infamy: there was NO TRAFFIC! I traversed the entire 21 miles at posted speeds. Something clearly was happening in our city.

I was on the road in spite of a city-wide judicial order to stay at home, because radio personnel, albeit temporary, are exempt. Communication is an essential function for the city.  If I was stopped by law enforcement, that was my approved story as per the radio station.

The sound room was ready for me. I donned the headset, turned on the “On the Air” light, prayed for God’s blessing, and began my recording. It was fun. I was thrilled to do the broadcast. I hope that if you can tune in, Prayertime will be a blessing to you.

photo by BFong photography

 

IMG_5831 2The Southwest is home for me. Specifically, Texas is my adopted state. I have grown to love it here.

Family and friends draw me back to the West Coast and the Great Lakes. Life has made each of these remarkable regions of our great nation home for a decade at a time. Blood or bonds still make those welcome sites for a fulfilling visit.

Vacations or extended business trips are a part of life adventures. Nevertheless, it is always wonderful to return home. The Southwest has been home for nearly a decade.

There were days when images of huge cacti were a novel sight for me. I expected John Wayne and the Calvary in blue seemed to be close by, ready to sound “Charge!” or drawl the noted Western greeting, “Howdy, Pilgrim.” Now, the terrain with its unique flora and fauna is beyond a greeting; it is the language of my neighborhood.

Don’t misunderstand me, though. Normal does not mean dismissed or ignored. Now, it is even more appreciated. In fact it is the object of my marvel and worth a long lingering gaze.

The Saguaro cactus is unique not strange. It is admired not a sign of desolation. Survival with meager rations of water, armor of prickly thorns, and ancient years of desert sentry duties serve as a testimony of this symbol of the Wild West.

My head turns and I smile like seeing a familiar neighbor. Fewer options of life exists in the vast desert. Like a comforting landmark, this gigantic sentry is steady, consistent, and certain.

God not only decked parts of his earthly great creation with lush foliage, he chose a different design for the dry arid lands. Tough people live in this region. Creativity and determination are commonly shared among my fellow Texans.

The presence and faith in the Almighty is strong here. It comes with chiseling out a living in a land that is not friendly to a life of ease. But, discipline, hard work, and determination find a worthwhile living in a land whose heat frightens away the soft and lazy. It shapes the character of those who are driven, hungry, and determined.

The Saguaro stands for all of that. Maybe there are more beautiful finalists for plant of the planet. But, there is no more a tougher candidate than the majestic cactus. It’s time to tip our Stetson to the giant Saguaro, symbol of the rugged and faithful Westerners of the great Southwest.

photo by bwfong

Unknown-1Lately, I have been turning off my radio . . . a lot. The political ads are flooding the airwaves during this election cycle. Leftwing politicians are buying time on conservative stations and conservative candidates are soliciting on liberal networks.

The volatile political climate doesn’t just seep into the media bombardment but even relatives cross the barrier of “no politics” at the dinner table. One shoestring relative made a proclamation at a gathering of the extended family, punctuating her opinion with the words, “And that’s a fact!” No one responded as the silence in the air almost turned stale as we waited hopefully for someone to change the subject.

My vocation in life is ministry. As a servant of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I am totally committed to representing him and bringing the Gospel to as many people as possible. But, the temptation to be dragged into opinion wars with fellow ministers is far too common with social media and strong biases from “religious experts” who will side with either political party.

It doesn’t make discernment any easier when high profile ministers become paid “news contributors” where their opinions are broadcast all around the world. Many then assume my position aligns itself with these celebrity pastors. How do you set yourself apart from that generalization and broad-brushing?

Social media may be the biggest culprit. It seems to have morphed into a hotbed of personalized opinion that is filled with criticism, negativity, and contempt. Ministers challenge anyone who is a person of faith to justify their support of either candidate or duly-elected official. It is overly contentious.

My choice over the years has to been to busy myself with what God has called me to be, a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That alone keeps me occupied. I know, as a leader in several situations, how easy it is for enemies to choose to be critical and negative and make me the target of their ire. They pick on a man of peace who is likely not to strike back.

Personally, it is not about being Left or Right for me as a servant of the Savior. It is about priority one: LOVE. My Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ, not any man or woman on earth.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not criticizing anyone for their choices of expression. But, as for me and my calling, I simply choose to express myself in the political debate by voting and then praying for whoever is in office. That’s me: I voted and I am praying.

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