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You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light. (Psalm 18:28)

October 2020 Newsletter

WWW.GOSPELMUSICFESTIVALS.COM

This Month's Featured Writer

Steve Patterson

Romans 11:29, NASB: "for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

Hello, this is Steve Patterson, friend of The Canadian Cowboy, Bob Olynyk.

This is another rendition of my calling into the gospel ministry.

I was born in 1949 into a Presbyterian family. I was baptized as a baby and had attended Sunday School since I was old enough to go.

I am the oldest of four children. Our mother took us to Sunday School and she attended a Women's SS class. She also played piano as they sang hymns.

I cannot recall not wanting to go to Sunday School. Maybe because I had no choice.

Sometimes you just know certain things and I knew we had to go to Sunday School.

Same as public school. You just knew it was not optional!

While we were at Sunday School, Dad was in the garage, working on cars. He loved auto mechanics and was good at it.

I didn't have an interest or aptitude for mechanics. On my test to enter the military, I scored 14 out of 100 in that area.

Though a fellow attendant in our SS class hearkened back to a certain teacher teaching the gospel, I had no recollection.

I remember Old Testament stories, not the gospel. As a matter of fact, I was stunned when I had to go to Confirmation Class and heard about the Crucifixion! Ten years of SS and not hearing the gospel; the Crucifixion?

My youngest sister said maybe I wasn't ready for it. Maybe. I did have a habit of daydreaming.

Our pastor was an Englishman. He was a bachelor and always well dressed. I remember hearing jabs about him at the dinner table. I didn't think it was right, talking about a man of God like that.

I observed the hypocrisy of my mother's attitude and her dutiful labor for the church. She was judgmental and critical.

She busted on my dad quite often. She probably was frustrated, feeling the burden of raising us kids while our dad was basically uninvolved. Still, I thought to myself, " Mom's the church- goer but the one to start arguments". It didn't " jive" with me.

At about age 13, in 1962, I went to see KING OF KINGS at the movie theater. I went with my friends, Frank and Doug and their youth group, also Presbyterian.

There was an " altar call" afterwards and the three of us went forward. That was my first sense of conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Sometime later, I woke up early in the morning to the sound of someone speaking my name. I looked around but there was no one awake. I since realized it was the Lord, just as with the young Samuel in the Bible.

But I didn't get a message. It was God letting me know He was real.

I had a somewhat normal life. I played sand lot baseball and football and shot hoops. I wasn't a sportsman. It was just something to do.

I liked music. I was in a small group called The Dudes at about 14 or 15 years of.age.

I liked the music of the previous era more than my own: Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Elvis and country music by Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins, a real singer.

I was in my room, playing my guitar to such tunes, when I heard within me: YOU SHOULD BE A MINISTER". I was stunned! Who was this? Why did I hear this? Am I crazy? I don't want to be a minister, and be laughed at. ( My parents attitude ingrained in my mind).

I came to the conclusion that it was indeed the Lord and this was my calling, however it was not what I wanted to do.

I was about 16 or 17 at this time. Being a minister was not " cool", in my opinion. And I wasn't versed in Scripture or the true Christian life. So, the years passed and I took jobs in many forms: laborer, clerk, shipper and receiver, postal sub- clerk and then I enlisted in the air force:: USAF.

I was conflicted about being a soldier and having to kill someone but I wanted to serve my country. I figured I wouldn't have to kill anyone in this branch of service.

WRONG! They made me a Security Policeman and they were sent to Viet Nam to guard the posts.

This brought much anxiety and, by the grace of God, I was honorably discharged just as my unit was dispatched to Nam.

Diagnosis: personality disorder. Not meant for military service.

A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. This causes significant problems and limitations in relationships, social activities, work and school.

Who knows if the diagnosis was correct? It got me out of the military with an Honorable Discharge after only 8 months of duty. God's grace.

I did not mention that I had OCD in my early teens. I had to do things or touch things three times. I was a mess but nobody knew what I was dealing with. I never told anybody about my going forward at the movie theater.or hearing God's voice. Those things were not normal to us.

I didn't pray except for grace at the table and ""now I lay me down to sleep".

Now I am discharged early and not knowing how to explain it to my parents. I felt deficient. I gave some explanation. I don't remember what.

I " came to the Lord", again, amidst a lifestyle of drinking beer and smoking pot. I was going with my one and only girlfriend whom I would later marry.

The minister of this church warned me not to marry this girl but my mind was made up.

I thought being a church member was sufficient but I soon realized that this person was not dedicated to Jesus.

She gave birth to two children. First, Melissa, then four years later, Erik.

I took the kids to SS, but ended up patterning after my own life. I was not a great Christian around the house and I did not train our children as well as I should have.

They were excused, by my wife, from SS because the kids picked on them for knowing the answers in class. " It's not cool to be smart!"

Years later, we changed denominations from UCC to Lutheran. Again, it was me going to church alone. That was the pattern.

We were divorced after 29 years of marriage. It was her choice to separate but I saw what was happening and called for a divorce.

I had a rebound relationship, carnal from the ""git- go". She offered me sex and I went for it.

I had not had sex for many, many years of marriage so I was very vulnerable.

I lived with her for four years and then proposed.

We were married for six years then she divorced me. She was an agnostic. I was going backwards. Yes, I backslid in a big way, back to booze and pot...and church. Not good!

When the divorce was finalized, so was my backsliding.

I dedicated myself back to the Lord by donating to a ministry for orphans in Haiti: Love A Child.

I was beginning to feel better about myself.

It was the year 2013. I had gotten onto Facebook to preach the gospel. I met a lot of like- minded people from around the world.

I had an online relationship with a woman from Indonesia. While in that scenario, I met another young woman from Indonesia who was a prophetess. She sent many a word of wisdom from God and did seem to know about my second wife as she tried to get me to go back to her. But I knew the Lord delivered me from that marriage.

One night, while looking to add a friend to my contacts, I added a " friend of a friend" who turned out to be a fraud. She posed as a minister to orphans but was not bashful about asking for money. I felt uneasy about this and another person from her country, Pakistan, intervened, warning me that he was her neighbor and she and her brother were frauds.

This is how the Lord protects His own.

The fellow whose " friend" she was was somewhat of a leader in the small cluster of Christian FB friends that I became involved in. His name is Douglas Troy Stanley.

Shortly after this episode, " Troy" sent a message, supposedly from the Lord: YOU NEED A WIFE! I believed the message.

I had seen a post from a young woman from Africa, Evangelist Kemigisa Dinah. It interested me so I became FB friends with her.

Dinah was very cordial and interesting to chat with. Then, she told me of her ministry for orphans. I thought " Oh, no. Not again!" but there was a different spirit here. I had no anxiety or bad feelings about this person.
I began supporting her ministry as led by the Lord. Dinah would let me know how she spent the money with itemized accounts of her expenditures.

Before long, Dinah told me she wanted to be my wife! I thought " WOW! Troy's prophecy is coming to pass!"

I'm sure you all are thinking " foolish old man" but I was trusting the Lord and did not want to go against what might be His will for my life.

My friend, Mary, the prophetess, freaked out when I told her. She said " You just met her!!!"

The months rolled by and I continued my support, all the while continuing to preach online. Then, Dinah invited me to Uganda, her mission base and home country. She said they wanted to honor me for my support of the orphans and widows and her pastor would like me to preach when I get there. I spoke to him on the phone.

For the record, the fraud from Pakistan used the " come and preach" line on me, too. But, as I said, Dinah was different.

My pastor friend, Joe, said " God will give you a message". I believed this.

After much praying, I bought an airplane ticket and left for Uganda at the end of March 2015.

I would be there to celebrate Dinah's birthday.

It was a long flight to Africa broken down in 3 parts. Philadelphia to Washington DC. ((Not far).Then to Brussels, Belgium, an 8 hour flight. Then, 7 hours to Entebbe Airport in Kampala, Uganda, the capitol city.

I'm a big guy. I was very cramped in those seats on the plane and did not know I could get up and walk around. This proved to be problematic!

Dinah and her pastor met me as soon as I got to the airport. I had sent money and my hotel room was secured.

I slept all of the following say. I was very tired.

It was a Monday. On Tuesday, we headed to Fort Portal where they lived. It was a 4 hour drive.

I only had six days vacation. We did some sightseeing and visited other ministries.

When it came time for me to preach, I did some searching of Scripture but closed my Bible saying " The Lord will give me a message!" He sure did!

I opened with " When I think of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, I feel..." then the Message came flowing through me. God's message!

I stopped a few times to allow the interpreter to speak, then continued until I knew it was finished.

I was having bowel problems and made a dash for the toilet. When I returned, I saw a bunch of people standing in front of the altar. I asked Dinah what was happening. She said those people received Jesus Christ as Savior!

Then, within me, I heard " If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation." Just that quickly, the pastor asked, " Patterson, do you have anything else to say?" I replied, " Yes, I do" and gave the new converts that Scripture which the Holy Spirit planted in my ear.

My romance with Dinah had cooled off after some time. I sensed it coming. I had even told the Lord " I'll stay with it until I hear different".

The next day, Dinah told me " The Lord is not happy with our relationship".

That was about a week after Joan's husband died of stomach cancer. Joan is now my wife.

Troy Stanley later admitted " I didn't think the Lord wanted you to go to Uganda for a wife when there was someone around the corner!

Troy did not know where Joan lived. He was speaking generally. However, Joan was 2 blocks away from.me...just around the corner!

I was 65 years old when I finally began to minister the gospel. This was about 50 years after I received my call to ministry, but" the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

My experience in Uganda was my introduction to the work of God through the Holy Spirit.

Trust God to speak when He gives you an assignment. You can never fail when you walk by faith.


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