Modern-Day Psalms: “Early” Reviews

We have been so blessed by the positive response we’ve received from our new book, Modern-Day Psalms: Praise Songs and Love Messages. It is amazing to hear how the words have deeply affected the readers, which is exactly God’s intention for the book. I have been honored to have heard from many people who have, very early in the reading of the book, contacted me to share how the book has touched them. I wanted to share a couple of examples:

Over the weekend, and please understand the sentiment, I received a telephone call from a beloved relative who had started reading the book, and, as soon as Carol handed me the phone, her first words were, “How in the #@*# did you write all this?” At the first sentence, I was expecting to be chastised … severely … but, what she meant was that the book had already touched her, reached her in a way that words can’t explain. My explanation is always the same … as I explain in the book … that God was the writer … I only held the pen. God still has the ability to speak through words, and touch us in a way which “words” can’t.

Last week, I heard from a newspaper reporter/writer, who had received a copy of the book, and was contacting me to set up for an interview. She had read only the first chapter (poem), and she was brought to tears. I can honestly say that, and God deserves all of the praise, that I do hear that a lot. And, not tears in a bad way. Just today, I heard from another reader, who, asked me if she could send this same, first poem, to a friend of hers … to minister to her … as this friend of hers was struggling through the same issue which the poem was meant to address, and minister to. She said that the poem was like it was written just for her. She told me that her friend had been going through anguish and pain over a particular situation for many, many years. This reader was going to type the words of the poem, and then send them to her friend. She wanted to check with me first, to make sure that was ok with me. I will be emailing her a copy of the poem, to send to her friend. I will send my prayers along with it.

Also today, and I mean this in a good way, I heard from another reader who told me that she had to, in trying to read some of the poems, stop, and close the book … then open the book back up, and try to read something else. Then, she would have to stop, go to another page, as she couldn’t finish that one, either. Apparently, the words had touched her heart so deeply, had stirred up emotions which, at the moment, were so intense, perhaps so painful, she couldn’t deal with. At least, not now. I pray this reader will open the book back up, and allow the words to do what they were written for. To comfort, console, and encourage her. To hear from someone who has “been there,” and God brought out. Brought out for the purpose of “going back in” and helping others “out.” This particular reader was looking for something special she could share with someone who was special to her. Keep in mind that a part of the “Love Messages” in the book make it clear that it’s ok to love Jesus … to love your wife/spouse … and, to love your family. And, it’s ok to show them. So, even though many of the “Love Songs” are metaphoric in nature (symbolizing Christ’s love for us and vice-versa), they are still written in a style which can be shared with others. So, I am sending her a copy of just that one Love Poem for her to share.

One of the unique aspects of the book is that I provide an introduction to each one of the works. It explains how or why (or both) that particular poem was written. The story behind it. My intention was that these short introductions would bless and minister to people, as well as the work itself. Again, part of the “messages” within the book. The publishing world thinks that it is a bad idea to introduce a poem. I don’t think it’s a bad idea, and I’m just following the instructions I received about how to lay the book out.

Anyway, I am so blessed by the response to these introductions. So far, everyone who has said anything about the book, always mentions the introductions, and what they have received from them. So, God was right again!

As we go along, we’ll share more about the book. My intention at the beginning was to only mention that we are now offering the book on Pastor Appreciation Gifts, both personalized and signed … just to make that announcement, as we’ve had questions about when that would happen. But, I think the most important thing about the book will always be how the book ministers to, how it affects, how it touches the deepest human emotions … that these are truly living words, meant to do exactly what they are doing.

I praise God for that, for allowing me to hold the pen, and be a part of something so special …

Below, I am placing a link to the “Modern-Day Psalms” Book page over at Pastor Appreciation Gifts. Please note that the book, both hard cover and paperback, is being offered at as close to the online retailers’ price as possible. But, Pastor Appreciation Gifts is the only place where the book is being offered both personalized and signed.
On the page are links to take you to more information about the book (I will be including part of this blog post as well), including a “Table of Contents” listing for you, and other information pertaining to the book.

You can also order (from the Publisher) the book in eBook format, available in whichever format you have). There is a link on the book page for the eBook, as well.

Thank you again for your kind words and thoughts.
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
Link to Pastor Appreciation Gifts: Modern-Day Psalms Book Page


Richard. Vincent. Rose. Recites “The Gettysburg Address”

In support of Ken Burns latest film project, “The Address,” we present Richard. Vincent. Rose. reciting “The Gettysburg Address.”
The national effort was launched by filmmaker Ken Burns, NHPTV, and PBS.
For more information on the project, here’s a direct link to the
“Address” page on New Hampshire Public Television:


Guest Post: Great Quotes & Resource: “35 Manners Quotes”

Like many of you, I love to collect great quotes. Whether from throughout history, or more recently, I am always on the lookout for a great quote.
I know there are a lot of “famous quote” sites out there, and a quick Google search will net you many good sources …

I recently came across this blog, called “All About Manners.”
I liked the way they had this particular list, called “35 Manners Quotes,” but there were some other features of the blog I really enjoyed. 
I like the way, in this list for example, they put the author/speaker of the quote underneath the quote, with the author’s name being an actual live link to a list of that person’s quotes. 
Plus, I enjoyed some other informative and entertaining features about subjects like poetry; there was even a list of “Top Nursery Rhymes” which had a really good history of each.  

Below, I’ve got a link to the “Manners Quotes,” which includes this one by Fred Astaire: 
“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”

Working with young children (which is another reason I like the Nursery Rhyme history), I really liked that one.

Here’s a direct link to the Quotes List from “All About Manners”:

35 Manners Quotes | allaboutmanners



Quote from Kate Bortell

As we meditate on the amazing, finished work Jesus accomplished, for us, on the cross, here is a quote from Kate Bortell, confirming that, if we are good enough for Him … that’s good enough.

Kate states one of the best lines I’ve ever heard:
“He cleaned up our act.  
With a huge broom in the shape of a cross.”


Yes … We Watched The Movie “Noah”

Man … this is getting to be “plum regular” … this is the second movie we’ve gone to the theater to see in something like two months … and … we’re planning to go see another one in the next couple of weeks!

People are always interested in what you did, and why you did it, so here goes:
First, the whole story of Noah and the flood fascinates me … the fact it had never rained before, Noah being the only preacher on earth, how big the ark was, etc. The whole idea that we get so mad when people won’t respond to our attempts to witness to them … and then, I think of Noah, and his faith, his trust in God. In God’s Word, and God’s promises. We’ll write more on that later.

First, this isn’t a “what’s wrong with” type of review. It would be easy to say that everyone we have talked with told us to not go see it, that it was a waste of money, etc. And, then, tear the movie apart … without having watched it. There has been plenty, enough, of that.
I did bend, slightly, to the temptation, to do a Google search using the term, “What type of genre’ is the new movie Noah?” I stopped after just viewing the results.

I thought this must be “Historical Fiction” (the Librarian in me), but that can’t be it. The best way to describe its genre’ is “Biblical Fiction,” but, I have a really hard time just writing that, and had to convince myself to write all of the letters. The movie is listed as a “Drama.” I wasn’t sure if the category “Biblical Fiction” was a real category, but, from another Google search, apparently, it is. Something about the way that sounds just bothers me.

Anyway, the film is firmly “Biblical Fiction.” I call it a fictional re-write of an historical event. To be polite, there are a great number of “historical inaccuracies,” but the film was never meant to be a realistic re-telling of an actual event. Remember … whether it’s a friend, or neighbor, or stranger telling you something … always “consider the source.” You’ve probably heard enough of all the inaccuracies, like getting the Methuselah-Lamech-Noah genealogy right, but messing up on the birth order of Noah’s sons. From their ages to their marital status, to the number of people on the ark … it was, literally, a fictional re-write. It also hit me that the word “God” was never mentioned in the movie.

Am I concerned that people will watch the movie, and consider it to be fact? Much like the reaction one gets, when asking someone about the Ten Commandments, and they respond something like, “Yeah, I know all about it. I saw the movie.” In this case, I am hoping that the fact that there are certain clearly “Science Fiction” elements thrown in, that this will be enough to convince a secular audience that much of this is fiction, and is meant to be.

It is hard not to quote 2 Timothy 4:4: “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
I am more hopeful that people who watch the movie will want to go to the Bible and read the real story … And, I think that is the real value of a movie like this. As we quoted our Pastor, when he was asked about the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” and responded, “I liked the book!” We can only pray that people who see this will be compelled to read the real story … and, let God take it from there.

So, what did I really think? In this case, you have to look at it as a “regular” movie. If there had never been a Noah, or a flood, or an ark … then, this would be a great “entertainment” movie. Great story, great acting … great drama … there were times I “jumped,” and times I was on the edge of my seat. Oh … and, special effects!
But, I guess what bothers me is that, knowing the true story … why not tell it the way it is written? I can’t remember ever seeing a movie preview before, which carried a “disclaimer” with it.

We all know the story of Abraham Lincoln. It would be like making a movie called “Abraham Lincoln,” but changing many of the main facts about his life which we know to be true, and changing or adding characters or events to the point where you would say, “Knowing the true story … why not tell it the way it was written?” It would definitely have an effect on the reviews, wouldn’t it?

Carol and I got to the theater about 5 minutes before the movie started … the theater was completely empty … we were the only ones there (Monday night @ 6:20). Another couple showed up just before the previews, and then, another couple showed up moments later. So, all 6 of us watched the movie. We spoke with the first couple out in the hallway, after the movie. The lady said she was going to, now, “go back and read the story from the Bible again.” Again, maybe that’s the whole point to a movie like this. Certainly, God can use something like this for that reason. I was grateful that, just last week, to reinforce myself, I studied Genesis, chapters 6-10. I love the story … as it is written.   

The next movie we’ll go see: “Heaven is For Real.” Carol and I have both read the book, and the lady from the couple at the “Noah” movie, mentioned above, told us she had also read the book, as we all looked at the movie poster.

I mentioned both the “Noah” and the “Heaven” movies to a friend at work today, and we almost got into an argument over the “Heaven is For Real” story. I think it is scheduled to be out this (Easter) weekend … Honesty, I feel terrible about how I reacted to someone’s opinion over the “Heaven is For Real” book … Man, do I need to pray more about my interactions with other people … He had not read the book, but had a definite opinion about it, which differed from mine … I can imagine how people are going to react once the movie comes out … both those who have read the book and seen the movie, and those who have done neither …



Special Video- John Wayne: “America-Why I Love Her”

We wanted to share this, now seemingly rare video, featuring John Wayne’s narration, with photos, choir, and music, of “America the Beautiful.”
I can honestly say that, yes, I have always been a “John Wayne” fan, and, yes, I always will be.
I was just recently re-introduced, after too long a time, to a couple of his movies. Honestly … I had forgotten, with time, just how great he was on the screen. Like Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and very few others, as new generations come and go, it is forgotten “just how big they were.”

My Mom and Dad (who is, by the way, a big Gene Autry fan) were fans of John Wayne, as are many in my family. I’ll never forget watching “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” for the first time, with my Mom. I brought the movie over to give to her, as she was a huge fan of westerns. I remember the first time I heard, from John Wayne himself, the term, “Pilgrim.” I had heard show-business impressionists use “Pilgrim” many times, but that was the first time I had seen the original words for myself. I’ll never forget my Mom’s reaction when John Wayne came riding into town … his first appearance in the movie … she mentioned how tall he was in the saddle; the way he carried himself, even on horseback … that had to be John Wayne!

A friend lent me the movie a few weeks ago, and I watched it again. When John Wayne came riding into town that first time … I remember, so clearly, my Mom’s words about his being so tall in the saddle … it seems like just yesterday … By the way, I also loved the “That was my steak, Valance” scene … and, what a great, great actor James Stewart was …
Which reminds me that the same friend also lent me “The Shootist,” where Wayne and Stewart were reunited on screen. As great a western as that one was, if you get a chance to see the “extras” that are included with the DVD (I love all of that “behind the scenes” stuff), it is an amazing story of how sick John Wayne was during the filming of what would be his last movie.

One of my favorite children’s books is “Chico the Brave,” written by Dave Horowitz. The story is about a young chicken who is afraid of everything … but, becomes a super-hero. I love to share the story with my students, and they love the story. At the very end of the book, after the story, is a page featuring this quote:
Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
John Wayne

Anyway … to the video … I can remember, “way back when,” when television stations used to “sign off” for the night (and we only got 3 channels-if we were lucky), they would play this same video of John Wayne and “America, Why I Love Her.” I hadn’t seen the video in years, so, when I came across it, I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!


Addressing “The Address”

It started, innocently enough, when we played a video, shown before the Super Bowl, featuring the reading of the Declaration of Independence … then, we thought about the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Preamble … the Gettysburg Address … Anyway … the idea was, how often do we see, hear, or read these great documents, from which our nation, and, yes, our way of life, sprang?
I can remember, not that long ago, when, in school, we always had to memorize the Declaration (or at least parts of it), the Preamble to the Constitution … and, the Gettysburg Address, for example.
What about now?

Then, from “out of the blue,” I received an email from a friend at New Hampshire Public Television:
Guess what?
From “out of nowhere,” a new movement has started … begun by master film-maker Ken Burns.
The national effort is to get as many citizens as possible to memorize, and recite, the Gettysburg Address. The movement sprang from a film which Mr. Burns was putting together, highlighting the efforts of a group of students at a small school in Putney, Vermont.

Here is a statement from New Hampshire Public Television:
“To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, filmmaker Ken Burns, NHPTV, PBS and other organizations have launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America, especially students, to record their recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech.”

The goal is have as many citizens as possible, record their recitation of The Address, and then upload it to YouTube.

To support the effort, we are putting the link, which will take you directly to the NHPTV website’s “Learn the Address New Hampshire,” where you will find information about the national effort, notes about the Address itself, and info about Ken Burns’ new film. You’ll be able to view a wide variety of individuals, from both the public and private sector, who have accepted the challenge, and recorded/uploaded their own recitation of “The Address.”

I encourage you to enjoy this unique and uplifting opportunity … and, there will also be a link to where you can download your own copy of The Gettysburg Address.

Here’s the direct link:
Link to NHPTV Home Page for “The Address”


Shared Email Stories: Angels In The Alley

Diane, a young Christian University student, was home for the summer. She had gone to visit some friends one evening, and the time passed quickly as each shared their various experiences of the past year. She ended up staying longer than she had planned, and had to walk home alone. But she wasn’t afraid because it was a small town and she lived only a few blocks away.

As she walked along under the tall elm trees, Diane asked God to keep her safe from harm and danger. When she reached the alley, which was a short cut to her house, she decided to take it. However, halfway down the alley she noticed a man standing at the end as though he were waiting for her.

She became uneasy and began to pray, asking for God’s protection.
Instantly a comforting feeling of quietness and security wrapped around her; she felt as though someone was walking with her. When she reached the end of the alley, she walked right past the man and arrived home safely.

The following day, she read in the paper that a young girl had been attacked in the same alley, just twenty minutes after she had been there.

Feeling overwhelmed by this tragedy and the fact that it could have been her, she began to weep. Thanking the Lord for her safety, and to help this young woman, she decided to go to the police station. She felt she could recognize the man, so she told them her story. The police asked her if she would be willing to look at a lineup to see if she could identify him.
She agreed and immediately pointed out the man she had seen in the alley the night before. When the man was told he had been identified, he immediately broke down and confessed.

The officer thanked Diane for her bravery and asked if there was anything they could do for her. She asked if they would ask the man one question. Diane was curious as to why he had not attacked her.

When the policeman asked him, he answered, “Because she wasn’t alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her.”


Special Video Presentation: Joni Eareckson Tada: Song and Circumstance

We all have a list of the people we most admire. Whether from history, or from our current time, We love Joni Eareckson Tada, and she is on both lists. Period.
We are so proud of her … proud of what God has done in her life … proud to support her work and ministry … so proud of her …

Here is part of what I personally wrote about Joni, and why we support her:
“I first saw Joni on the cover of a Gospel tract, many years ago, and immediately felt the call to help her ministry in any way I could … from the first time I read her story, then began to read her words, then heard her speak, it was clear that with Joni, God had done something very special … As she has for millions around the globe, Joni Eareckson Tada has inspired and encouraged me, often in ways that can’t be explained, only felt On a personal note, as I writer and speaker, I admire, respect, and am encouraged by the work of Joni Eareckson Tada, more than any person I have ever been blessed to hear or read. Joni embodies the very essence of “Why, Pastor, Why.” From watching her speak, hearing her words of comfort, speaking God’s Word, there is no doubt why “God brought her out.” There was no other person on earth who could do what Joni has done.”

Now, for the first video. This is Joni singing the theme to the movie which bears the same name:

Alone, Yet Not Alone.” It features some great photos of Joni and her husband, Ken. All of the artwork you will see in the video is done by Joni … As far as I know, this is the first time she has recorded a song, and, my understanding is, that the song was nominated for an Oscar … then, the nomination was taken away … Please allow me to say that I haven’t seen the movie (Remember, I’ve only gone to the theater to see a movie once in the last several years), and I don’t even know when “The Oscars” take place … but, I wanted to share the song, and especially the images … with you … Here is Joni Eareckson Tada singing “Alone, Yet Not Alone:”

Next, here is a television interview with Joni, regarding the circumstances around the song, it’s nomination, and the Oscar nomination being taken away … I share this for just one reason: It provides insight into how the song came to be, and features Joni, with the grace, elegance, dignity, and sincerity that, is, well … just, Joni … We are so proud to be a “Friend of Joni.:”