Welcome to Our New and Updated “Pastor Appreciation Gifts” Online Store

Hi Friends:

Our newly re-built and re-designed online store, Pastor Appreciation Gifts, is now up and running, and we’d like to invite you to visit us and take a look at the “new look.”

It has been our honor and privilege to be allowed to serve so many of you, for these many years, helping to “Honor Those Who Honor Him.”

We’ve worked very hard on this, and have spent many, many months getting the new website built, and we still have some updates and re-arranging to complete, some “spacing” issues to resolve, but we can finally invite you in for a look at our new online store.

While this is just “the tip of the iceberg,” it is still the tip, so we wanted to get it as close to completed as possible before we “opened the doors.”

We will be adding many more new products, and product categories, as we go, but we are proud to be able to begin anew with the Personalized Plaques and Christian Calligraphy Artwork we have been so blessed to offer over the years. This includes our Mini-Pulpits, Standing Billboard Plaques, in addition to “Why, Pastor, Why” Plaques, “In Praise of Pastor’s Wife,” “Letter to Assistant Pastor,” and the “Star Witness” Personalized Plaques. Plus, we have added 5” x 7” artwork, which is perfect for shelf or desktop display.

We will also be updating our online ministry efforts, with complementary looks to our Blog, Facebook, and YouTube sites.

We invite you to please visit Pastor Appreciation Gifts, where we welcome any comments, and we’d love to hear from you, and be allowed to serve you, and your family.

As always, you can call us. Our new toll-free number is 833-4PULPIT (833-478-5748), our email address is still customerservice@pastorappreciationgifts.com, and you can always use our “Contact Us” page to send us a message.

We will continue to do everything we can to serve you, in any way we can. Our mission and credo haven’t changed. We still believe that God honors those who honor Him, and that “He will bless those who bless you.”

Again, we look forward to your visit, and serving you in any way we can.

Blessings to you, and your family,

Pastor Appreciation Gifts

Just click on the link to go directly to Pastor Appreciation Gifts

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Quote: Robert Logan-True Power

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Quote: John Climie-Of John Harper and our Heritage

I Remember: When “The Lord’s Prayer” Was a Hit Record

Hi Friends:

Recently, I was listening to an old broadcast of “American Top 40” with Casey Kasem (remember that?), and he was counting down the top hits of 1974. Yes, 1974. When I found the station, Casey was the mid-80’s section of the countdown … and there it was …

Coming in at number 86 on the year-long countdown was … “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Yes … “that” Lord’s Prayer, put to music and recorded by Sister Janet Mead.

Hold on … That’s not all:
The song reached # 3 on the Australian Charts, and … The song became an international hit record …
Yes …an international hit record.
Hold on … That’s not all:
It sold three million copies worldwide, reaching at the top of the “pop charts” in nations like Canada, Japan, Brazil, Germany, and the United States.

Yes … “that” United States.

The song entered Billboard’s Top 100 charts on February 24, 1974, was on the charts for 13 weeks, and reached # 4 on the charts in April, 1974, during “Holy Week,” the week before Easter Sunday. The record also reached # 2 on the Adult Contemporary singles chart. “The Lord’s Prayer” was a certified “Gold Record” in the United States, meaning sales of over One Million copies. The single earned her a Grammy Award nomination.
 
The single was the very first Australian recording to sell over one million copies in the United States.

Plus … this:
It also became the only song to hit the Top 10 in which the entire lyrical content originated from the words of the Bible. More specifically, it is the only Top 10 hit whose lyrics were attributed to Jesus Christ.

Janet Meade was (and is) an Australian Catholic nun. She taught music at Saint Aloysius College where the original music video for “The Lord’s Prayer” was filmed. She was born in Adelaide, South Australia. When she was 17, she formed a rock band to provide music for the weekly Mass at her local church. She studied piano at the Adelaide Conservatorium before joining the Sisters of Mercy order and became a music teacher at local Catholic schools.

Mead began making professional recordings of her music for schools and churches in 1973. Later in 1973, she traveled to Sydney for a recording session with Festival Records, produced by Martin Erdman. Originally wanted as a “B” side, “The Lord’s Prayer” became an international hit record. Mead donated her share of the royalties to charity.

In 2004, Mead received the Yamaha Golden Gospel Award in recognition of her services to Australian Christian music.

I just checked “Billboard’s Top 100” for the week of April 13, 1974, and “The Lord’s Prayer” is listed as # 4.

I know you are curious, so here goes:
At # 3 on the charts, “TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia)” by MFSB Featuring The Three Degrees
# 2: “Hooked On A Feeling” by Blue Swede
# 1: “Bennie And The Jets” by Elton John

As I look at the charts for that week, I see … “moving up 7 notches this week, up to # 20 on the charts is … ‘Tubular Bells’ by Mike Oldfield … the theme for the movie “The Exorcist.”

It would be so easy to do a “then vs. now” commentary, but, I don’t think I need to.

We decided to share this particular video of the song, as it has a lot of photos of Janet Meade, and some of the record labels which released the singles.

Usually, we add the words to the song we are featuring.
Don’t think we have to, on this one.

Please enjoy Sister Janet Meade and her hit recording of
“The Lord’s Prayer.”

Still “Standing:” On Professional Athletes, T-Shirts, World Wars, And The Flag

Hi Friends:

This may be the hardest time I’ve ever had with writing about a particular subject.

I’ve gone back and forth with this one, thinking, praying … just wanting to do the right thing.

The whole, entire purpose of my writing, and our efforts on social media, is “to bless, inspire, and encourage.” I pray every day that we’ll be able to “bless, inspire, and encourage.”

I make every effort to not be a “news commentary” or even to comment at all on “what is happening” in our country. I see, like you, “what is happening.” There are already so many “channels” out there that supply commentary, and, yes, so much of it is negative.
There is so much good in our country, the United States of America. There is also much good in other countries. Unfortunately, so often, when we feel compelled to write about “what’s going on” we are thinking of something negative, not positive.

So … when I witnessed the WNBA season opener, and saw the players-all the players-from both teams-walk off the floor, go back to the locker room, before the National Anthem played … I can’t put into words how I felt. I wasn’t expecting that … it caught me completely off guard.

I wasn’t mad … I wasn’t angry … I was ashamed.

So, this is the hard part of all this. I so look forward to the WNBA season. First, it means Summer is finally here. Second, we are so familiar with the players, having watched so many of them … followed their careers in college … still love the women’s college basketball … In fact, I am wearing a college women’s basketball T-Shirt as I write this … So, when I saw both teams go to the locker room, so they wouldn’t have to be “subjected” to the National Anthem … well … I just felt sick inside. Real sick. In watching another WNBA game this “opening” weekend, I saw an entire WNBA team kneel, arms locked in unison, while the National Anthem played.

I have written much about my feelings toward the NFL (No Flag Loyalty) for refusing to even air the National Anthem (except maybe on Thanksgiving and Super Bowl) during an NFL (No Flag Loyalty) regular season game. Well … guess what? The WNBA hasn’t aired our National Anthem so far … and, it’s not looking any better for tomorrow.

I still, and I mean I still, don’t understand why an American citizen would not stand for our National Anthem, or would leave the field before the Anthem is played. That’s pretty much it. I just don’t understand why. And then, I don’t understand why, and I mean I still, don’t understand why someone who is an American would support someone who would not stand for our National Anthem, or support someone who would leave the field before the Anthem is played.

I never thought I would ever see the day when this would even be an issue.
Last I heard … a particular individual who gained fame for kneeling during the Anthem would, one day, be considered a hero. I hope I never see that day. But, I never thought I’d see this day, either.  

By the way, the play-by-play announcer, whom I do have much respect and admiration for, would, later, go out of his way to clarify: The WNBA teams left the floor before our National Anthem was played-and not during/or when our National Anthem was playing. He, however … did not explain what the difference between the two actions are. Meant the same to me.

I really was having trouble with this one. Should I write about this? The definition of a blog is “a website that contains online personal reflections, comments … provided by the writer.” I’ve tried not to do this, for reasons explained. However … if I wrote so much about the NFL (No Flag Loyalty) … should I … could I … ignore this? I really wanted to.  

I struggled with whether I should or shouldn’t.
Then … I noticed the T-Shirt I was wearing:

It features the soldiers raising the American Flag on Iwo Jima. I’m sure you are familiar with that image. Above the American Flag, in the sky overhead, fireworks are in dazzling display. On the bottom-right of the image, is written “FREEDOM 2001.” Yes, that’s how long I’ve worn this T-Shirt.

The American Flag. How many brave men and women have died or been injured defending it?

Yeah … I’ll stand.

I thought about this: What if we had not won the war? In this case, World War II?
What if another country won?
I guess I was thinking what if our enemy (enemies) in that war had won?
Would our highly-paid, highly-coddled athletes still refuse to stand? Would an entire team be allowed to just walk off the field of play so they would not have to be “subjected” to this Nation’s Anthem?

What would happen today, right now … in so many other countries, if an individual or entire team refused to stand for their nation’s National Anthem?

As you know, during World War II, and other wars before and since … including today … it was and is the direct actions of brave men and women willing to sacrifice their lives to make, and then, to keep, us free.

I believe I know what the rest of the world (especially our “enemies”) think of this situation where people, claiming to be American citizens, refuse to honor our Flag, and our country.

Remember, the Public Address Announcer, at the stadium/arena very clearly states:
“And now, to honor America, please stand …”

To honor America.
So … that is the purpose of singing/playing our National Anthem before the game … I see …

So, this would mean, if you don’t stand to honor America …

While I stared at my T-Shirt … I wondered … I really, really did:

What do our brave men and women, around the world (including here at “home”) think about someone claiming to be an American, who will not stand or honor our Flag, or our National Anthem? I really did think about this.

So, I made the decision that the right thing to do was to voice my concern over this issue.
As an American, an American citizen, founder of a company which has “Freedom” in its name, and as an American writer, I felt I had no choice.

Yeah … I’ll stand.

And, continue to wonder: If they won’t stand for our flag, whose flag would they stand for?

I have to stand. I understand the sacrifices which were made to gain our freedom, and I understand what the American Flag represents.

My Father, and my Father-in-Law, both had American Flags draped over their caskets. I saw and heard the 21-gun salutes. Heard the bugler and “Taps.”
The last funeral of a non-family member I attended was a close friend. He, too, had the American Flag draped over his casket. I heard the bugler and “Taps.”

I support the brave men and women of the Armed Forces, and their mission and work around the globe.

Yeah … I’ll stand.

I just don’t understand why someone won’t stand to honor these men and women, and our country, our Flag.
I do understand that they have a right not to stand, I guess. But, don’t they realize the reason they have that right … the reason they have that freedom … is because of the very country they live in? That this country, the United States, allows them the freedom to live whatever lifestyle they choose … and, to share that lifestyle with whomever they choose?

Why didn’t I just turn off the TV … I couldn’t … I had to watch Sabrina Ionescu’s (followed her in college) debut game … And … and … if I had turned it off, I would not have seen this:
One of my favorite former college players, which we followed her entire career, sustained an ankle injury, and was down on the court … Before the network could cut away … I witnessed my very favorite WNBA player … kneeling next to the injured player … and, she had laid her hands on her, and was praying … yes … praying … This was similar to NFL (No Flag Loyalty) games where, after the game, there are a number of players-from both sides-who gather in a circle and pray … Yep, as soon as the cameras see this, they quickly, quickly pan away, but I’ve seen it several times after a game …

I’m writing this between WNBA games. Yes … I am still watching … but I won’t tomorrow night, and I’m thinking about future games. I keep getting calls from our closest WNBA team, trying to get me to buy season tickets. I think, now, that I will return his call, so that he will know that, as long as his team does not “honor America,” don’t call back.

If more fans took this stance: We won’t support a team which doesn’t support America … you can bet that … all of a sudden … if it was costing them money … these sports would become the most Patriotic organizations on earth …
Once again, I’ll say this: While I no longer watch Major League Baseball, last time I watched they not only sang our National Anthem, but they played “God Bless America” during the “7th-Inning stretch.” Can you imagine the uproar if the WNBA and NFL (No Flag Loyalty) wanted to sing “God Bless America” during a break in the game???

Can’t watch baseball anymore. Seems like there is not much of a penalty for cheating … even during the World Series, which, like a lot of things in this country, used to be revered …
So … should we change their name to MBL to stand for:
Mighty Big Lenses
Might Be Lying

No more baseball for me. Already cut the season. Before you know it … they’ll try to cut the number of innings they have to play …

I’m in-between games, and I’m writing. As it gets close to the second televised WNBA game, I am switching between channels (ESPN, NESN, CBSSN) to see who is carrying the “late game.” I’m not making this up: ESPN was at the end of a MSL (that’s soccer) game, and they showed highlights of the game … the teams playing were from American cities (I don’t know much about MLS), and the highlights showed an entire team kneeling during our National Anthem. I don’t know … If they don’t stand for our flag, whose flag do they stand for? I’m sure a lot of people around the world watch soccer from ‘the states … I wonder how they felt about that … Anyway … they say “MLS is back,” but for me, if this is what they “stand for” (did I just write that?), they can stay gone …

I switched to NESN … that’s New England Sports Network … the show playing was “The Best of the 2019-2020 Bruins Season” … I’m not making this up … I only watched one highlight from last season … it was Lauren Hart singing our National Anthem before a Boston Bruins/Philadelphia Flyers hockey game … I’m serious … this was a highlight of the entire season … Not only did I stand, but I made a mental note to start watching the Bruins on TV …

Then … on ESPN … you know how they scroll the headlines at the bottom of the screen?
On the NBA turn, in bold letters, it proclaimed that all coaches and players had kneeled during our National Anthem before the game … Not sure if they played the anthem live or not … that would have been honoring America … I don’t know what the score was; that didn’t seem to be as important a story …

So, in closing, I still don’t understand:
How could an American not stand for our National Anthem?
I mean … how could they not?

Whose flag would they stand for?

Do we need to change the names of the leagues to:

WNBA: We Need to Be American
WNBA: Need to Be American

MLS: Don’t care. Maybe
Might Leave Shortly.

As I’ve written, I’m not angry at all this. I know we live in a world that is lost and dying.
I know that the problem with such issues is not intelligence, but blindness.

As an American, who proudly supports our military and soldiers (past and present), I believe it is the right thing to do, to “stand and honor America.”

Next thing you know, they will try to dis-honor our police.

For our friends around the world, let me advise that, when referring to “American sports athletes,” I am writing of individuals who play for an American city or American region team, located within the United States borders. If I told you how much money they make, for playing a game, while enjoying the freedoms of living within the United States, you probably would not believe me, and especially would not believe that they would refuse the opportunity to “stand and honor” the country which allows them to have such freedom, posterity, and privilege. I know, as we support the efforts of those in “hostile and restricted” nations, that, so many of you would be tempted to say, “Why don’t you come and live over here for awhile?”

So … If you to ask me if, instead of “standing to honor our brave men and women who are proudly serving our country both here and around the world,” would I prefer to kneel …

No thanks.
I am an American.
I’ll stand.
I have to.
I’m an American.

Richard. Vincent. Rose.    

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2 Days to Never Worry About: Yesterday and Tomorrow

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Quote: Ulterior Motive to “Get Rid of Police”

Quote: Ulterior Motive to “Get Rid of Police”

Day of the Christian Martyr (“Witness”)

Monday, June 29th is Day of the Christian Martyr.

This year, Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui will be honored.
Pastor Sankagui “knew the danger … He knew that his safety was at risk … and, yet he also knew the call of God … He decided, in his heart, that answering that call was worth any risk.”

We share this year’s “Day of the Christian Martyr” video so that we may be inspired by those who came before us. We ask that we all pray for pastors and church leaders serving in places where they experience a daily threat of public humiliation, opposition, and violence. They ask us to pray that they will love their enemies and remain faithful to God’s call to be a witness for Christ to those who hate them.

As always, let’s all pray for our own commitment to Christ, that we may be a bold and faithful witness no matter the opposition we face.

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body” (Hebrews 13:3).

Let us also … as we survey what is happening “over here” … not forget what has been happening for so long, and continues to happen to our Brothers and Sisters, “over there” …

We combined resources supplied by The Voice of the Martyrs (https://www.persecution.com/) to present this video:

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Quote: Every Person, Soul, and Life Matters

A Message for These Times (and All Times): At Home with Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada

Hi Friends:

Recently, I “attended” the first Voice of the Martyrs Virtual Conference, which was amazing.
The first speaker was Joni Eareckson Tada, who shared her story (it had been 50 years since her accident), and how this had coincided with the 50th anniversary of the release of Richard Wurmbrand’s book, “Tortured for Christ.”

I was searching for the video of her address when I came across this message, from Ken and Joni Tada, taped at their home in California.

So … I’d like to share this with you … a message for now … and, really, encouragement for “always.”

We continue to be blessed to support the life’s work and ministry of Joni and Ken Tada … and Friends. The way they love Jesus, and each other, is a great witness and inspiration to us all.
For now, and for always.