Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve Sermon: Remember When ...

Tonight we have left our homes and celebrations of a holiday to ensure that we are also participating in a holy event. Even if just for an hour, we have set aside the excitement and hustle of shopping and traveling, the arrival of family and friends, the extraordinary meals and the beautifully decorated homes in order to take a journey back to Bethlehem. There we join Christians from all over the earth that are doing the exact same thing this evening – worshipping the Christ Child, our newborn Savior

When families and friends get together, it is not long before someone starts to tell stories. Many of you have recently been reunited with family. That means that either to your horror or to your joy, you will soon hear the phrase “Remember when….” Others are spending Christmas away from people that they love, and the yearning for them will also make them remember stories from their past. Whether you tell these stories to others or only to yourself, it is impossible to get through Christmas Eve without a story or two. We need these stories. In a world that tries to pull us in so many conflicting directions, these stories serve as a link to our past and to our identities. They root us in the relationships, joy, and even the pain that have created our lives.

Now we gather in church as a family of faith to remember the most important story of all. Remember when .. he was born to us?” It happened thousands of years ago and in a place thousands of miles away, but it is a story we cannot forget. In a moment, we can return to the donkey in the stall and the smell of hay. A couple from out of town is exhausted and staying in a barn because they cannot find any other place to stay. The woman gives birth to her son that night, wraps him in cloth, and lays him in a manger. Soon shepherds arrive and tell an amazing story about the heavens opening up in song.

It is a story that we tell carefully to our children so they will remember every detail as if they were there when it happened and as if this is a story about them, which, of course, it is.

I remember hearing Martin Luther’s reflections on Christmas, le me share it with you
Martin Luther, reflecting on Christmas, noted how often God shows up, but not where you and I have been looking. We had sought God in the heavens, and instead God is born in an occasionally annoying, crying baby. We had thought our redemption would look more like escape from all this, and instead he joins us here. We were all looking in the wrong direction. The birth of the Christ Child reveals, among many other things, that our Christmas idealism is thin-lipped and ultimately trivial.”

Wherever tonight finds you: that is where God embraces you by taking on the flesh of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. It is that good news we announce, celebrate, and hope in this night. Like the surprised shepherds and Jesus’ parents, all Israel, welcomed this embrace.


Our Gospel Lesson tonight was from Luke 2

In one of the bibles that I was flipping through in preparing this message, I saw the following title: A Big God for a Little People—Luke 2:1–5

Our mouse in the children story thought he was insignificant, but he was not. Our lives are very similar. We, at times, believe that we are insignificant (little) …. But we are not.

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah's mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town?

Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of six billion people, where all the news is of big political and economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige? If you have, don't let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God's little people—the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart. He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice. We, the children, may be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.
Please remember that Christmas is about what God has done, not what we have done. Christmas is about God’s attitude toward mankind and his dealing compassionately with us and not as our sins deserve. Christmas is about God changing His plans for our future.

Remember also that Christmas is a powerful symbol of birth. Each year at this time as we celebrate the birth of Jesus over two thousand years ago, we are called to be as vulnerable as a child and to open up to the possibility of new birth within ourselves. God sent his Son to lead us into new life and to help him turn darkness into light. That’s what Christmas is about.
The twelve gifts of birth are what we need to cooperate with Christ in the process of
transformation – of ourselves and the world. Christmas is a time to remember our birth, our heritage and the gifts that God intended us to claim and incorporate into our lives.

And so I quote to you from The Twelve Gifts of Birth.

At the wondrous moment you were born, as you took your first breath, a great celebration was held in the heavens and twelve magnificent gifts were granted to you:


The first is Strength. May you remember to call upon it whenever you need it.

The second gift is Beauty. May your deeds reflect its depth.

The third gift is Courage. May you speak and act with confidence and use
courage to follow your path (I think God would add: the path I have dreamed for
you.)

The fourth gift is Compassion. May you be gentle with yourself and others. May
you forgive those who hurt you and yourself when you make mistakes.

The fifth gift is Hope. Through each passage and season, may you trust the
goodness of life.

The sixth gift is Joy. May it keep your heart open and filled with light.

The seventh gift is Talent. May you discover your own special abilities and
contribute them to a better world.

The eighth gift is Imagination. May it nourish your visions and dreams.

The ninth gift is Reverence. May you appreciate the wonder that you are and the
miracle of all Creation.

The tenth gift is Wisdom. Guiding your way, wisdom will lead you through
knowledge to understanding. May you hear its soft voice.

The eleventh gift is Love. It will grow each time you give it away.

The twelfth gift is Faith. May you believe.

I don’t know what you will find under your Christmas tree tomorrow morning. But you came here, tonight, I assume to find something special that can’t be wrapped in a box and placed under a tree. What this night will offer as darkness turns to dawn is a gift from God – a baby born for us. A baby who will grow into a teacher and a savior. One to whom we can turn to for help as we try to live into the gifts of our Divine Father.

Morning will break. It will be a new day after a long night of birthing. Rejoice! And may you kneel in wonder and adoration at the gift God offers the world – feeling in your hearts the stirring of new life and a renewed hope for a better world. So leave this evening – remembering and cherishing the gifts you received at your birth. Strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love and faith. If you believe that you have lost any of the gifts along the way in your life, reclaim them tonight. Carry them home with you. You don’t need a big Santa sack, just an open and receptive heart. And then, get ready for new and abundant life. AMEN.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Story of Hope

The following post is a "stolen" post from ESPN the magazine. Please take a few minutes and read the story. Yes, it is about football but it is about so much more .. HOPE ... and we, as individuals, need hope and we need to hear stories of individuals who give hope.

Here is the story:



They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team's fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.

"I never in my life thought I'd hear people cheering for us to hit their kids," recalls Gainesville's QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. "I wouldn't expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!"

And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he'd just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.

This all started when Faith's head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. "Here's the message I want you to send:" Hogan wrote. "You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan's office and asked, "Coach, why are we doing this?"

And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!

"I thought maybe they were confused," said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). "They started yelling 'DEE-fense!' when their team had the ball. I said, 'What? Why they cheerin' for us?'"

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. "We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They're lookin' at us like we're criminals. But these people, they were yellin' for us! By our names!"

Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game's last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."

And it was a good thing everybody's heads were bowed because they might've seen Hogan wiping away tears.

As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.

The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, "You'll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You'll never, ever know."

And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they'd never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.

Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it's nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.

Hope.

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From me to you, here is a "challenge". Let us reach out to individuals and give folks hope. There are a lot of individuals that are out there who are feeling "hopeless". Let's give them hope.

Here is the direct link to the story:

The Story

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Sermon

I just finished reading my Christmas Eve Sermon 3x. I am not sure if this is where I wanted to go but I think that this is the way that we will go.

If everything goes right, I will have a very early morning walk and I will be praying over the sermon and after that ...... I will have a better clue.

I would post it up here and let you critique it away but I do not want my Zion folks who read this to read my sermon before I preach it :)

So, if you want to hear it, you have to come to the early Christmas Eve Service at Zion - 7 pm.

Maybe later this week, I will post the message.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Community Working Together

I emailed Carolyn earlier this morning regarding the Guiding Coalition. The Guiding coalition is the "Board of Directors" for Bridges of Hope: Ending Poverty in Wayne County.

We, as a community, should be greatful that there are so many agencies that are partnering together to make this iniative a reality. Yes, we know that this is a HUGE GOAL and that it will not happen overnight.

However, we also know that one person, one agency or a goverment program is not going to make this happen.

Back to the email .....

For a "program and initiative" that is truly in the infancy stage, it is remarkable that these many programs, agencies, ministry and goverment support are at the table. Here is a list:

Americorps/VISTA
College of Wooster
Commercial Savings Bank
Crichtfield, Crichtfield, and Johnston
Department of Job and Family Services
First Presbyterian Church
Goodwill Industries of Wayne and Holmes Counites
Muddy Waters Cafe
Orrville Area Boys and Girls Club
Orrville Area United Way
Orrville City Schools
St. James Episcopal Church
Tri-County Educational Serice Center
United Way's InfoLink
United Way of Wayne and Holmes Counties
Viola Startzman Free Clinic
Wayne County Common Good
Wayne County Family and Children First Council
Wooster Area Interfaith Partnership
Wooster City Schools
Wooster Salvation Army
Zion Lutheran Church
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It is fantastic to see this occur. I have lived and ministered in numerous states and I have never seen a "grassroots" efferot like this occur in the name of accomplishing a great goal
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The next Coalition Meeting is on January 7th, so I will let you know more specifics laer.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

200%

In the US, they say that a family needs to make 200% of the poverty guidelines to live a "sustainable" life. Our family makes $9,000 LESS a year then the 200%.
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The above is just for informational sake. I am not sure what the 200% and sustainable life really means, I will have to look into that more

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Over the next several weeks, I am going to make some posts dealing with poverty.

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Did you know that in our county ( county of 115,000 ) that we have 3,700 children who live in poverty (100% guideline or less) and have only a mom ?

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Did you know that in our (my) county that 1 out of 5 adults over the age of 25 does not have their hs diploma or a GED ?

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Did you know that 11,000+ people in our county live in poverty at the 100% rate ?

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Some of the blogging is going to come under the following guidelines:

ending poverty in our nation, in our lifetime (until it's gone)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sarah Palin's Church


Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, her husband Todd and up to 1,000 fellow parishoners will worship in a local school this morning after a suspicious fire virtually destroyed the Wasilla Bible Church early Saturday.

The Rev. Larry Kroon said some parishoners were in the church on Nicola Avenue at the time the fire was noticed but no one was injured. Firefighters battled for about eight hours in minus-20 degree temperatures to completely extinguish the blaze that began at the front door.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate went to the church Saturday to apologize to pastors in case the estimated $1 million fire damages, suspected as arson, were "in any way connected to the undeserved negative attention the church has received" since the governor's involvement with John McCain's presidential campaign.

The 30-year-old congregation in Wasilla, about 40 miles north of Anchorage, had moved into its new church just 30 months ago. Church officials said they expect to hold services at the Wasilla Middle School for the foreseeable future during repairs

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I surely hope that someone did not "arson" the church building because of her.

Friday, December 12, 2008

God Has Given You A Weapon

The video that you are about to watch (if you so choose) is very disturbing in my opinion. It is the type of video that makes me sick and my stomache turn.

This video s why some people have a ery bad taste in their mouth regardng Christianity.Yes,tose who lve the video and the message will argue that we have a vital message and we must get it out ......

But, I contend that we can do it without this gabage.

Watch and Give me feedback. Maybe, I am wrong .....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Have No Clue What To Title This Post



But, I think that I can safely say that he did support Obama.

Whoever did the haircut should be commended, they did a good job. I am not sure if I could/would pull off that look.

How about you ?

Theology: Who Is Right ?


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I took this from Mark who took it from Lionel
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I Love This.

Yes, I know there will be many who visit who will say, "no imposible for me to be wrong because I follow Scripture"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Abundant Living

Abundant living means embracing and engaging the world around us.

On December 19th Jim Carrey returns to the cineplex in the comedy Yes Man. The film is adapted from Yes Man, the unintentional self-help book that tracks one year of humorist author Danny Wallace’s life after a stranger on a late-night bus suggests
that he should “say yes more.”

In order to make his life more interesting, Wallace pledges not just to say yes more—but to say yes to everything: “I, Danny Wallace, being of sound mind and body, do hereby write this manifesto for my life. I swear I will be more open to opportunity. I swear I will live my life taking every available chance. I will say Yes to every favour, request, suggestion and invitation. I will swear to say yes where once I would say no.”

We need to find ways to say yes to life, to relationships, and to engaging God’s world more fully. But we cannot say yes to everything, and there is still a place for saying no. Danny Wallace’s approach to life, choosing to say yes to everything without thought or consideration, comes with plenty of problems.

Wallace must have been aware of this fact; in Yes Man he enlists a close friend, Ian, to make sure that none of the ventures are too wild. While we should not close ourselves off from the world by consistently saying no, we must use wisdom and discernment before saying yes.

I know that to a few individuals that I have been saying "yes" to too many things. As, I look back at the last few months, I have definitely took on a few more things and with "Bridges" coming around the corner, this will definitely be the case.

However, I am doing so - saying yes - with a purpose in my. Recently, I saw some talking points (3) and I believe they are "fitting" to me. Here they are:

Talk Topic #1: The Habits of No
KEY POINT: If we make a habit of saying no to new experiences and opportunities, we may miss out on the abundant life that God desires for us.

Talk Topic #2: The Power of Yes
KEY POINT: Saying yes means actively engaging and embracing God’s children and God’s creation.

Talk Topic #3: Saying Yes to God

KEY POINT: Theres a difference between constantly saying yes and saying yes to God. When we say yes to God, we are actually saying yes to God’s will for our
lives, even if this means sometimes saying no.

Also, I have recently had a scripture come to mind that has really grapped a hold of my heart strings. Throughout my life, during different periods, there were certain Scriptures that "drove" me. Here is the one that is my driving force:

Proverbs 31:9 (The Message)

"Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!"

I want to be the "voice" for those who do not have a voice or am not sure how to use their voice.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Do You Have A Pair of High Heels?

So, we just finished dinner ......

Jacob (9) says, "mom, do you have high heels"

Mom says, " umm, why do you want to know "

Jacob says, " umm, I just want to see if I can walk in them"

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Gotta love dinner conversations

Not Walking & Gaining Weight

I have not been walking as much in the last 4 weeks. Granted, I am still putting a lot of steps in. However, my calorie intake the previous 8 weeks have been used. Thus, with the holidays and being "use" to eating that much, I have continued.

Well, my steps are down, my metabolism has "adjusted" and the weight is coming back on. Now, I am still a good 40 pounds down from my high. But, I know that if I continue to gain 1 pound a week and not watch, that this time next fall, I could be back up there.

It is time to "reign" this back it. I need to get back to W&W. No, not weight watchers .. but water (drinking) and walking (high total).

So, here we go, yesterday and today were not high step totals but starting tomorrow, it is recommit. To recommit, I need to get to the Gault. Walking in the snow and cold is just not working.

For those of you curious, I am on my way back from New Orleans.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Bridges of Hope

I am really looking forward to the organization that I am going to be partnering with in Wayne County. In the next few weeks, I will be sharing more news on the organization and what aspects that I will get to help out in.

To give a quick summary though, we are going to be attempting to build an extensive network of individuals, businesses, non-profit agencies and government agencies that will team up with families who are wanting to move out of poverty.

These families will have to make a significant commitment to wanting to end the vicious cycle that they are facing. This "program" has huge potential and I am really excited to be part of this new initiative.

This past week, I have been involved in two meetings that have been very beneficial in making sure that the success of the program will happen. The first meeting was where the Director of Bridges spoke to the Wooster Area of Interfaith Partnership (WAIP) and the second meeting was the Guiding Coalition Info Meeting. This meeting was designed for potential "board of directors".

The next key date for us as an organization will be December 17th. I look forward to that date and on/after that date, I should be able to share a lot more information.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tommy Tuberville to WVU

Hey, let me be the first to start the rumor.

Bill Stewart is out and even though Tuberville had a rough year, he has a great track-record at Auburn.

So, Coach Bill resigns at the end of the year and Tuberville comes in. Tommy, leave your current offense guys behind and come and bring back the offense that you had down in the 2003-2006.

We can have a nice guy and a great coach.

Coach Bill, you seem to be a fantastic guy, but you are not a BIG TIME coach.

Let's get the ball rollin' and try to turn WVU ball back around.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Waiting



Advent Waiting
By Peter Marty

It’s not just about us. This season let’s come to God.

We lay some pretty heavy burdens on God’s shoulders. We place some fairly serious expectations in God’s lap. On one level, there is nothing wrong with our regular pleading for the Lord of heaven and earth to come through for us. On another level, though, there are problems with this lopsided practice of faith. Why should the weight of responsibility for sustaining a two-way relationship always fall to God?

Take our prayer instincts, for example. The prayers in many congregations commonly conclude with the petition: “Lord, hear our prayer.” It’s as if the burden for listening is on God hearing us rather than on us hearing God. Our ears are evidently exempt when it comes to many prayers. We trot out a list of concerns and hope God will click into gear and show some responsiveness to our requests.

Would that we could learn more from our Jewish counterparts whose focus is more on hearing from God than speaking to God. Our Christian habit of eagerly announcing what we believe or what we want from God is a far cry from the central pronouncement of the Jewish community: “Hear, O Israel.” Their listening approach to faith would do well alongside our many spoken claims, propositions and “I believe” statements.

Or consider the patient and not-so-patient waiting of many believers who want God to reveal a personal plan for their life. The assumption is that God knows who our mate for life should be, what our next career move ought to be and what our odds for succeeding in that brand-new diet plan will be.

God knows the answer to such specifics, many people profess: It’s just that God refuses to reveal that answer to us on the schedule we desire. Never mind that Scripture gives no evidence for this “personal plan” talk, in spite of God having a will about some very large and important things.

It must simply feel good, and sound trusting, to make God responsible for coming up with a personal design for our individual lives.

Our relationship with God

Here’s my proposal for this Advent and Christmas season: Let’s rethink these behavioral tendencies. How about a fresh willingness on our part to actually share in a relationship with the Lord? This would require some different habits than those that typically expect God to make a command performance and rise to meet our needs. We would carry more of our load in sustaining the quality of relationship God desires.

Think of the many times in life when you’ve wondered why God hasn’t been in precisely the place where you most needed God to be. Generally, this declaration of divine absence happens when we are in deep crisis. We may spend precious little energy inquiring as to the whereabouts of God when life is humming smoothly. But when things go awry, the Lord often catches the most heat.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, faith shouldn’t be this way. Why is it that we don’t ask more questions about our absence from God than of God’s absence from us? Given our conspicuous absenteeism from the Lord on many days, this shift in thinking would be refreshing. It would serve as a nice reversal to the troubling practice of often ignoring God, only to expect God to be suddenly at our beck and call.

In the congregation I serve, we use a Taize chant during many Advent services: “Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. Wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.” This is all well-and-good theology. It matches one strain of Scripture. We must be patient in waiting upon the Lord.

But there is another strain that deserves attention as well. This one has God waiting patiently for us—perhaps waiting for us to finally “get it right.” Here we discover God putting up with all sorts of loose ends, every imaginable form of hard-heartedness and one wrong stacked upon another.

The author of 2 Peter wrote: “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (3:9). This faith statement is emblematic of a Lord whose compassion will not foreclose on the future. It’s divine patience at its best—the Lord waiting upon us with grace and mercy.

In an old Jewish parable, a young man is troubled by the delay of the Messiah. He goes to his rabbi and asks: “Why does the Messiah not come? It may have been that in former times the Jews were not ready. But we have now endured the Holocaust and have never been so ready.”

The wise rabbi drops his voice to a low whisper: “I will tell you a great secret,” he says. “It is not we who are waiting for the Messiah. It is the Messiah who is waiting for us. He has been here all the time. We just haven’t found ourselves to be ready for him.”

I like this parable as a reminder that God waits for us—a startling reversal of the way we usually think about our tendency to wait for God.

Part of our Advent commitment ought to be a restoration of surprise to our faith lives. Such a move would free us from the monotony of always expecting God to meet our timetables and answer our every call. It’s time we quit abandoning astonishment, taming the truth and angling for predictable surprises. Like the student who shows up the first day of class to ask his professor, “Tell me exactly what I need to do to get an ‘A’ ” or like the wife who picks her own Christmas presents so her husband may then wrap them, we void life of surprise far too often.

When we remove surprise from faith, we are left with nothing but dead religion.

When was the last time you thanked God for not showing you the future? Maybe it’s time to reverse all that waiting for the Lord to deliver the goods for which you long. Stop waiting for a plan to arrive on your doorstep.

Think instead of the Lord waiting for you: “Surprise me,” the Holy One says. “Tell me what you plan to do with this precious new day I have given you. With great eagerness, I await your next move.”

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turning In My WVU Fan Card

After the Colrado game, I stated that we should fire Coach Bill: Here

Today, I think that I am going to turn my WVU football fan card in.

Yeah, I know it is only sports. Yes, I know it is just one year.

But, man, this season has been pathetic. I really believe that it has to do with the new coaches. Maybe they have the "scheme" that will work for the future BUT they definitely did not use the talent that they have this season in the right way.

As I watched them struggle and then lose to Pitt, I was absolutely shocked and in disbelief at the play-calling. The play-calling was below average all game and the play calling on the 2 - 1st and Goal series that we had were just plain AWFUL.

We may end up with a .500 record this year. We could very easily lose vs. South Florida and then the bowl game. And to think that there were quiet whispers of a National Championship after we dismantled Oklahoma in the bowl game and had most of the fire-power back.

Now, who to root for to play in the National Championship game ?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Heart Goes Out to Those in India



Gunmen have targeted nine locations in south Mumbai, including two luxury hotels. A state spokesman put the death toll at 78. Gunmen are holding hostages at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, police said. One witness told reporters gunmen had tried to find people with U.S. or British passports.

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It may be a rough night. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jesus is in the Film Frame ....



Jesus is in every film frame ....

Numerous times in my life, I wish that I could have fast-forwarded life. As I look back, in particular, on the last 2 1/2 years, I would have loved to have the thumb on ff button and quickly move on. However, in life, we do not get that option. We must live through every frame of life.

We do not usually see Him though because we are not looking and we are consumed with what is occurring in our lives and are blinded. Most times, we may even be able to justify the blindness because the things that we are going through "are just not fair".

But, if we look back, we can see that He was there in every frame. Would it not be great if as we walked through life, we would recognize his face at every frame. If we could do that, it would make the journey a little more bearable and we may be a little less likely to press the ff button because we might miss something great and we may miss a very valuable lesson.

If I were honest, I know that I would have loved to press the ff button through numerous areas of my life in the recent past. however by doing so, I know that I would have missed out on a great deal. I try very hard and I think that I succeede most times in looking "for and at" the Divine in the daily moments, if we do not; we are going to miss out on a great deal and our hurt will be greater than it needs to be.

I am sorta reminded of the following icon:



God is No Where

or

God is Now Here

My challenge to me and my challenge to you is to recognize that God is now here. Our life is a "movie" and He is in every frame for us. Take comfort in that and has you go through life and the "kitchen sink" is being thrown at you; see God and grab a hold of him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Update on my Wife

I did not put this up on my blog, however there was some conversations on forums and emails about my wife and wanted to place an update for you, so you will know what has been happening.

Stacey was beginning to feel pain and last week, she called her surgeon and scheduled a visit. The surgeon got her in very quickly. We went up to the Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday and they scheduled an EUA (examination under anesthesia) on Friday.

On Friday, we left at 4:15 am and we were a little concerned that we were not going to make it up there due to the snow and the wind. It was almost "whiteout" in a few instances. However, we did get up there and was only a few minutes late.

They got her in and the procedure lasted a little over an hour. I am typing this and my wife is not here and have not cleared what I can and cannot say, so I will say it in the following manner:

They had to do more than normal, thus the surgeon stated that she will be in more pain than normal following the surgical procedure. After 72 hours, I believe that she would concur with the surgeon - her pain is higher than normal.

We have lost count in a sense. We believe that this is her 10th procedure in the last 20 months. One day, we hope and pray that this will end. However, we also understand that unfortunately this may be a continual occurrence and can hope and pray that the time lapse in between them grow. This last time, it was 5 months, so that is a good thing.

Stacey is doing good, not great at the present time. However, I am amazed at how much she is able to do with only 72 hours passing. She is a real trooper. We will need to see how the long trip will play out for her - we are headed to Illinois for Thanksgiving.

So, thank-you for the prayers and I ask you to continue to pray for her as she continues to heal. I also ask you to pray that there can be a respite from this for awhile and that if/when new medications are in place that those medications will work and that there will be no short-term or long-term side effects from the medications.

I love you Stacey, you are such a strong woman to get through all the procedures and to keep the head up during all of this chaos.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

ELCA Takes Action to Address Food, Health Crisis in Zimbabwe

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The economic, political and social decline in Zimbabwe has taken a disastrous toll on the country's food supply and medical institutions, including four hospitals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ). To help sustain the services of the hospitals, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is providing $600,000 to the ELCZ. The ELCA is allocating another $330,000 for the purchase of 90 metric tons of seed and fertilizer to help secure food production.

"Just 10 years ago Zimbabwe was in a completely different place. The country was known as the breadbasket of southern Africa," said the Rev. Benyam A. Kassahun, program director for Southern Africa, ELCA Global Mission. "Everything is now destroyed," he said, due to political fallout, land confiscation and mismanagement.

In October Kassahun traveled to Zimbabwe. He described the situation there as "a human disaster." Among those who suffer most are "children, especially those under five, and pregnant women, who do not know if they will be able to give birth just because they are hungry," he said.

Kassahun's trip included visits to the ELCZ hospitals -- Manama, Masase, Mnene and Musome. The hospitals can no longer attract and retain qualified medical staff, afford to purchase food and pharmaceuticals to feed and treat patients, and provide ambulatory services. Funds sent by the ELCA to the ELCZ will be used to restore medical services at the hospitals, such as the purchase and storage of drugs, medical supplies and nutritious food; improve shelter conditions for pregnant women; secure telephone and fax machine capabilities; and provide transportation for patients needing specialized care at other medical facilities.

"Nurses at the hospitals are collapsing because they are also hungry," and "doctors are dismissing patients because there is no food to feed them," said Kassahun.

"I've never seen this kind of disaster and death," said Kassahun. "Churches are also in crisis, and pastors are having difficulty surviving. They are also tired of burying the dead and consoling the living. One bishop looked at me and said, 'My monthly salary does not buy two liters of cooking oil.'"

Between 80 and 85 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed, said Kassahun. "A lot of men have left the country to look for jobs in neighboring countries. In a matter of one month, from June to July, the inflation rate jumped from 11.2 million percent to 231 million percent. That means the local money is worthless," he said.

"It's hard to understand the inflation rate figure," said the Rev. Rafael Malpica-Padilla, executive director, ELCA Global Mission. "To help make sense of that, consider the salary of a pastor which is 300,000 Zimbabwean dollars per month. That salary only buys one loaf of bread. But, even if you have money, there is no food to buy," he said.

In addition to the $600,000 the ELCA is providing to stabilize and restore the services of the four ELCZ medical institutions, Malpica-Padilla said another critical part of the ELCA's response in Zimbabwe is to purchase food, seeds and fertilizer for distribution to about 15,000 families in an effort to provide "food for today and seed for tomorrow." He said the planting season is now. "If seeds are not planted within the next four to five weeks, it will be too late. The plan is for the seed and fertilizer to be purchased now through local partners in South Africa and transported by truck into Zimbabwe."

"Our hope is that these efforts will leverage the support of the United Nations World Food Programme to assist in providing food for the entire community. This effort is a collaborative one led by the Lutheran World Federation's regional expression in southern Africa," said Malpica-Padilla. He added that all funds from the ELCA will be "carefully transferred and will not be wired in one lump sum." Funds allocated by ELCA Global Mission came from the ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal.

"God is calling us to share, to walk with the hungry and, to the best of our knowledge, speak on behalf of the voiceless. Zimbabwe is only one corner of the world, yet the kind of disaster happening there is happening all over the world," said Kassahun. "We are called to share from what we have, share from what is at our table. That is what the gospel is to me, what I have come to realize. To feed the hungry is where I find hope and where God wants us all to be."


Video

Crash



The market "crashed" in the last hour of trading. The pic above tells the story. It went down in the morning, rebounded nicely, was doing okay after lunch and then at 3 pm. BOOM!

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Look at this from CNN Money:


Wall Street slumped Thursday afternoon and the S&P 500 closed at an 11-1/2 year low as fears of a prolonged recession sparked a massive selloff.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index lost 6.7% according to early tallies and closed at its lowest point sine April 14, 1997.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 445 points or 5.6%. It closed at the lowest level since March 12, 2003, just above the low of the last bear market.
Stocks were mostly lower throughout the session after the morning's weak readings on the labor market and manufacturing sector. The major gauges briefly bounced after falling to some key technical levels, before turning lower.

The fate of the automakers and the woes of Citigroup were among the factors dragging stocks down Thursday afternoon. GE slumped too on news that it's not getting additional capital, as had been rumored.

"The wealth destruction is phenomenal," said Tom Schrader, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus.

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This makes the Sojournal magazine this month so much more appropriate

Blog Comment Day



==================================================================================

People blog for all kinds of different reasons. Some blog to get their thoughts out in a public diary; others blog to share their expertise with others; many more blog for a dozen other reasons.

I blog for the interaction, learning, and friendship that comes from putting my heart and mind out in public and the privilege of people responding through comments.

Though there may be 100 reasons why people blog, I've yet to meet a blogger who doesn't appreciate comments. For this reason I'm starting Blog Comment Day on December 3, 2008. Here's how it works:

On December 3, 2008 you will leave one comment on at least 5 different blogs.
Out of the 5 blogs you comment on, at least 2 of them will be blogs you haven't commented on previously.

That's it. Simple, right?

Here

================================================================================

I am glad that I received the notice. I will participate. Now, I need to go over and let them know. Now, the question for me, who's blogs that I "lurk" at do I want to comment on.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Big Thanks to The Naked Pastor

My head was spinning this afternoon after I got back home from the church office. I was reflecting a number of issues from church on Sunday and from conversations that I had in the office and looking ahead to the Council meeting tonight ....

It was one of those, throw the towel in weekends and hope that the bleeding stops.

Now, it was not a throw the towel in, I am quitting the church aspect. It was more of a. "I am done fighting on a few hills and I am going to just let the chips fall where they may ......."

Well, I had 30 minutes before we get ready for swimming, church notes and council and I decided to read a few blogs before the night gets rolling .... here is a blog that I read .......

One of the most difficult things to know when you are involved in a church is that it is not an institution primarily. That is what it is called when it is organized, instituted, businessed, and controlled. The truth is that it is basically a group of people in relationship with one another and with the spirit of Jesus. This is essentially it. Not only does this take the pressure off of me having to perform on Sunday mornings and present a production. It also takes the pressure off of people having to shop around until they find the best show in town.

Of course, this is rarely remembered. Especially when numbers are low, my mind stretches toward imagining new and fantastic ways of attracting people. And if the Sunday morning just doesn’t do it for me, I’m tempted to look over the fence for greener grass. Not much different than any relationship actually. When someone comes to me to discuss a difficulty they’re having in a relationship, and they say something like, “The romance is gone!” I usually say something like, “Well, that’s good. Now the necessary work begins!” But that’s when most bail. Honeymoons are getting shorter.

I’m not sour-graping or resentful about this. I’m just as human as the next guy. If we have a down day I’m just as inclined to want to throw in the towel. Until I remember that these are my friends. It’s them I’d be bailing on. What’s this “church” thing that always gets me so frustrated and depressed? It’s nothing but a label. It’s a label used to try to describe something. When I obsess over the label, that’s when I lose sight. The label is not the thing. The word is not the reality. The reality is the mutual love we have for one another. That’s where it begins, and where it ends.


The posts spoke to me and the bolded line (my emphasis) jumped out at me. I am getting back into the ring and I am asking for the towel to not be thrown in.

The issues on the burner and the battles on the hill are worth "dying" for and the reason that they are worth dying for is the following ....

The ministries that we are discussing involve friends that I love. Families that I care for and we are a community. We need each other. There are things that we need/must do to make our community more of a family and thus the steps must be taken .... whether we have resources or not.

I am off to take Jacob swimming, drop Bethany and Isaiah off at the school so they can go to church notes. While Jacob is swimming, I am going to listen to some music and walk (thanks to an ipod giving to me) and brainstorm for tonights meeting.

Walking Update .....

Some have asked; so here you go ....

Well, I did get back up over the 100 mile mark for the week, but I did not really make up any miles. I did have a high total for a single day during this week and that was on Tuesday. But, the high day was "for not" in the sense that it did not push my week total that high.

Here are the week totoals:

Sunday – 24,738
Monday – 21,964
Tuesday – 75,176
Wednesday – 23,684
Thursday – 29,271
Friday – 15,116
Saturday – 18,277

Total = 212,226 ………. 104 miles

Week 9 Walk



Total Journey

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Upward Basketball: Blow-Out City

Tonight was Isaiah's basketball game (Purdue Boilermaker's) for Upward. It was a blow-out. Over the years, we have sat through many blow-outs, usually, we are on the losing end of them. Tonight, we were the winning team.

We won 43-8. Those games can definitely be rough.

Isaiah did not score tonight even though the team tried to get him in the scoring column many times. However, he play a fantastic defense game and husseled everywhere and wiped up the floor numerous times by diving all over the court for the ball.

2-0

Perfect season :) ao far.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Change in Church

Churches are notorious for feuding over what is already dying while they lose focus on the timeless principles that really matter. Just remember, even the most ground-breaking version of today's Church will ultimately have to be redesigned and reborn.


I love this statement !

I really wish that we could focus on the timeless principles and values and not feud and fight over items (programs) that are quickly dying.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Food: Southwestern U.S. Style

Two of the American favorites come together to make the donut / hamburger sandwhich.

WARNING

This may make you sick ....

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The Where-Is-Your-God-Now? Burger from MAKE MOVIES on Vimeo.

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But, oh how I want to do it !!

Wait! It Was About Hamburger's

BREAKING NEWS !!!!

My big spike was not due to the election. It was about HAMBURGER'S !!

Over the last 5 days, I have had 298 visits regarding hamburger's.

The 298 visits have come from the following post:

SERIOUS EATS

For you see, on October 29th, 2007 (yes, over a year ago), I did the following post:

EATING A GLAZED DONUT HAMBURGER

I loved the restaurant and company that I ate with, especially Sarah Norton and Doug Pagitt. They are both great conversationalist.

Who would have known that a year later, I would be getting numerous hits on that post. But, because of it, I now have a new site to check out:

A HAMBURGER TODAY

I am going to search the dite for new hamburger's to make and more importantly; some new places to go and grab a burger and fries.

So, I will not have to post about politics to get the spike, IT IS FOOD !

Score!

Who wants to make a run to an unknown restaurant and get a burger ?

Keep Walking ......



Ugh .... this is what keeps going through my head while I walk around town. I really need to get me a music device so I can listen to music, sermons, talks or ....

Yesterday, I was a walking mad-man and today, I am "taking-off" for a cool down day. I walked 75,176 steps yesterday or 35.5 miles. Now, that is quite a bit of walking.

Thus, keep walking bumps through my brain ...UGH

Monday, November 10, 2008

People Like Problems ....

People like problems they know MORE than problems they don't know

Hmmm, I think that this might sum of why some individuals do not like change and the reason that they are "comfortable" with the status quo.

I believe that there are a few things that we need to "shake-up" but if we shake things up, we do not know what problems will come our way. If we remain on the path that we are on, there are going to be a lot of problems, however, we know the problems and can navigate them a little more easily. Going in a different direction, it will cause a bumpy ride.

In areal sense, I want the bumpy ride.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

My Election Day Spike

I have around 30 regular readers. However, on election day, I had an election day spike. My picutes and post on election day had "rolled" to the top of search engines and I had a number of people click to the blog. Take a look at my "spike". I am sure that all the new visitors were a little disappointed.




I think that I had more 1st time visitors on post-election day (Wed) then I had for all of September, October and first part of November.

On Wednesday, here were my numbers:

I had 185 different individuals visit my site.

23 were returning folks and 162 were first time visitors.


Just wanted to share, not that that is earth-shattering news.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Browns, You Need A Defense

As a Steelers fan, I always love to see the Browns lose. However, I was rooting for Brady tonight and he did a good job. When Isaiah came in and asked who I was rooting for, I told him the Broncos in a close game with Quinn having a great game .. prophecy, I tell you.

The announcers I believe were giving Winslow a hard time. Yes, he did have the interference, a fumble and a dropped pass to end the game ... BUT ... he also had 10 catches, 111 uards and 2 TD's ...

Let's talk about the Defense. They blew the lead again. Their defensive backs can not cover and they can not tackle.

McDonald, your pass deflecting stat might look nice (3) but, man .. you got burnt.

Look at all the White Faces



This is what McCain was looking at as he was giving his concessional speech. I went and listen to his speech on youtube and this was very tpical in the crowd shots.

Do you notice anything ? Ohhh wait, my post title might give you a hint.

Philosophy Over Coffee game me a heads up and have been looking at this issue.

Very Interesing ....

Marketing: Starbuck's Vs. The Church

This (in my opinion) is a great Parable on Marketing and looking at it through the lens of the church & starbucks. Unfortunately, I recognize all the "pokes".



Consumerism in the church, what do you think ?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Our Political Candidates



Obama, Palin, McCain and Biden ......

A little humor never hurts. From a quick scan on the blogs and facebook statuses and the radio, it looks like people are heated up and mad and numerous are spitting fire ... here is to a laugh and a prayer .. and a song ... everything is gonna be alright

Our State: Ohio

Ohio did go to Obama and the Democrats. However, one of the thingsthat interest me is when you take a look at the county breakdowns. I may bore you with numerous states and I apologize but it is more for me to "remember" the election.

But, I think that it is a very interesting case study to take a look at the election and see the vast difference between the "urban" vote and the "rural" vote. Below is the state of Ohio:



In our "rural" county, the county went for McCain. Our county vote was 56 - 42%.

So, to those that tackle the issue, why do you think that the "urban" went to Obama and the Rural went to McCain ?

Obama Wins

Here are the results. All votes are not in and some states are still too close to call but enough are in for us to know that Obama won.



I think that it is still safe to say that there is still a divide in our country between the north and south. Blue in the north and red in the south. Florida is blue but I think that you can say that Florida is really a north state with how many "northerners" retire to Florida.

I was at breakfast this morning and there were was already "spin" going on ... *sigh*

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Church Fruit Versus Kingdom Fruit

Today was another sad day for me as I sat in/on the Wayne County Student Network Meeting. I really wish (pray) that we could be more about the kingdom then our individual churches. We look through such a small lens and are so me-focused.

I am not going to go through the statements in the meeting ...... it will just be too depressing ....

Ohhhh, btw, in case you have not heard, I heard this moening that there is something called voting and elections going on today and tonight, they may (strong emphasis on may) announce who our next President will be ......

Speaking of which ..... I was definitely in the minority at the Student Meeting and in the unamious crowd at the Interfaith Partnership meeting.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Reasonable Letter To Pastors On Election

Out of all that I have received and seen ... this may be it ....

Pastoral letter to the ELCA on the U.S. Presidential Election

In the Lutheran community of faith we value both public and private discourse, because we believe God works in vital and redemptive ways with human words. In the closing weeks of a presidential campaign, we share with our neighbors of all faiths high expectation for our public discourse. The words uttered by those seeking office and those voting have power, not only to provide the substance necessary for good decision making, but also to bring hope.

Let us maintain a level of discourse worthy of this important moment in our nation’s history and the pressing issues demanding our attention. Let us focus on the vital issues facing our nation and the world. The ELCA’s social statement, "The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective," calls this church to "promote sound, critical, and creative citizenship and public service" and encourages us to join in public deliberations. As we are called also "to contribute toward the upbuilding of the common good," we can express the expectation that the candidates call for an end to personal attacks, and focus on the issues and things that matter to all of us.

With the current financial crisis sweeping the United States and the world, it is too easy to forget those who are most vulnerable, people who live in poverty here at home and abroad. They deserve our attention too, as we prepare to determine this nation’s direction for the next four years. Instead of personal attacks, I appeal to the McCain and Obama campaigns and related message groups to bear in mind and recall for all of us the situations of our sisters and brothers who will suffer the most from our current economic turmoil.

Finally, I call on all of us eligible to vote to exercise faithful civic engagement on November 4. Lutherans acknowledge the instrumental role of government in society, and participation in the electoral process is an example of our affirmation of baptism to "serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus" and "to strive for justice and peace in all the earth."

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Halloween 2008: The Kids

Here are some pics of our children in their costumes:

Isaiah


Jacob


Jacob and Isaiah


Bethany




All of Them

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trunk Or Treat

Tonight, we put on trunk or treat for our downtown community. We ask members of our church community to come to our back parking lot and to decorate their trunk and pass out candy while the youngsters come around and trunk or treat.

We also had a table outside set up for cookies and cider. Our church family brought out plenty of cookies and the trunk or treaters appreciated having the cookies and cider after going from trunk to trunk.

It also just so happened that Halloween fell on the last Friday of the month. For us, our church community does a dinner and a movie. Thus, after they went around the trunks, they could go downstairs and have sloppy joes and chips and cookies while watching Casper.

It was a great night. The weather was absolutely beautiful and we had a fantastic crowd. We did not do a count, even though we had talked about have a "clicker" with one of our "trunk participants". We had about 27 cars decorated and passing out candy and we had well over 200 children and their parents come out. So, overall, we had about 350(?) on our parking lot. We had a ball. Here are some of the photos.


























We had a blast tonight. For the Zion folks who check in on the blog, THANKS for coming out tonight and providing a safe place for the kids to be. I truly appreciate your willingness to help. You made tonight a HUGE success.

Obama & Psalms 23

C'Mon ... this is just silly people ...

The Lord is Obama's Shepherd,
He will not lack votes,
He makes him composed and not panicky;
The Lord leads him as like a Pastor tending great multitudes; The Roaring Crowds waving by;
Obama's table hath the Lord furnished;
In the full glare of Palin and McCain;
As Abel's Sacrifice was accepted by God in the full glare of 'Cain!
Obama's Vote boxes overflow with votes;
White house and Oval Office therein shall surely await Obama;
And he will dwell and reign there-from four years and four more;
To the pleasure of all Americans and all Men of Goodwill the World over

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a few more days .....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pray NOW for Senator Obama's Repentance

We need to pray for Senator Obama's repentance regarding numerous federal policies .......

DP:

You are right, I can not let the "political" aspect go.

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We received the fax (titled as in my post) today at church and it went into details about the up-coming choice.

Here are some of their language:

Our nation faces a fork, a divergence between the high road and the low road -- and you and your congregation could very well determine the direction we take. The high road upholds America's peaceful tradition of Judeo-Christian tolerance and morality. The low road marches us toward militant secular-paganism, militant Islam, or both.

The high road upholds traditional marriage between one man and one woman, and the sanctity of innocent human life that springs from such unions. The low road favors homosexual "marriage" and child sacrifice (we're not referring to familiar abortion here – see below).

The high road upholds the rights of pastors, priests and rabbis to "speak truth to power" in the tradition of Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, (and for Christians) John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, Stephen and Jesus. The low road would officially censor the Judeo-Christian view from the public square.

They want us to show a "sermon" this Sunday to make our congregation aware of the issues at hand. Here is the video.



We, as a church, will not be showing the video.

I really struggle on how I feel about the Christian Community making thee pushes.

Shaq: Opening Night

From Yahoo Sports ....

This is too funny.

As some of you might recall, during the preseason doldrums, Suns center Shaquille O'Neal took offense with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's liberal use of the Hack-a-Shaq strategy during the first round of the playoffs last year, calling it "a coward move."

Now fast forward to Wednesday night's Suns-Spurs season opener:



I love when the game is not taken too seriously.

BTW, The Suns did win the game and Shaq had a good game. He scored 15 pts and had 13 rebs and he went 5-8 from the FT line.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Finally Did It ...

I went over to the election board and voted. I had to put the "election" behind me.

Yes, I was one of the "undecided" voters. I did not truly make up my mind until Monday. I had been weighing the pro and cons of the election in my head.

I listened to most of the debates and I read most of the transcripts and interviews.

I also did not limit my search to the Republican and Democrat Party. I researched the following parties and candidates:

Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Liberterian: Bob Barr
Green: Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
Reform: Ted Weill

I walked over to the election board and was comfortable with my selection.

Have you voted ?
Will you vote ?
are you waiting for this to be over ?

Before I Believe, I Need A Statue Of God ...

I thought that this cartoon was funny. Maybe, you do not but after the last 2 days, I need some small laughs:


My New Nephew



My brother and his wife just had their first baby. If the pic is too blurry, I apologize. I tried to zoom it in and blow him up a little bigger and by doing so .... it messed up the pix's a little.

Congrats to them *clapping*

Now, that was a lot of walking .....

Well, since I have been wearing a pedometer, yesterday was my biggest day of walking. After Monday's night meeting, I had decided that I was going to purposely walk and try to clear my mind. I think that it worked. As I walk to the Free Clininc, I decided to try to reach a "big goal". I did reach it. Here are the numbers:

70,109 steps
33.17 miles
10 hours and 12 mins of on my feet moving

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Walking & Praying

That has been most of the day. I did have staff meeting and I did go to the free medical clinic to volunteer but besides that, it has been walking and praying ....

I am off to do more .... at the end of the day, I will share how many steps, miles and hours, I spent walking, praying, and contemplating at the issue at hand ...

Please Pray with me :)

Thanks

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why Am I Continually Amazed ?

Why am I continually amazed after coming out of church meetings ?

You would think that after 15 years of ministry that I would have come to the realization that you never know what will occur in the meeting and you never know what decisions have been made in meetings out of the meeting before the meeting.

On my talk and proposal ...... didn't give.

An Internal Struggle



Today as been a battle for me. If I am to be completely honest, the last two months have been a battle on where I am at inregards to our Sunday morning schedule discussion.

Here in 98 minutes, we will be entering into another round of discussions. I am feeling sick and my stomache is turning and there is more to it then the white chili that I had for lunch.

So, when it is my turn to speak and council looks to me for my words of guidance and direction on this topic, will they like what I have to say ? Of course, maybe the more appropriate question at the present time is "what am I going to say?".

Yes, this issue in my mind should have been put to bed long time ago and it should be "polished" and I should be going in there "to close the deal". However, the turning in my stomache is saying, "no, don't make the hard sell".

For you see, the proposal rhat I am "scheduled" to make from most peoples standpoint is one that I am not sure that I can fully support and encourage. Now, don't get me wrong, if the council decides we need to go in that direction, I will work my "you know what off" to accomplish it and make the situation the best it can be ...

HOWEVER .... I think that from a family ministry aspect, we will be making a few mistakes and the mistakes may "haunt" us for years to come.

I am reminded of the following quote:

You can add without attracting attention; but you cannot subtract without attracting attention.


One of the aspects that I believe is useful to do when you are managing change is the following:

prune quickly, plant slowly

We are not doing that. I am not 100% sure how we could do that in our current situation. Yes, I do have a few thoughts ... BUT .....

Begin with the End in Mind


We need to do this, I am not sure that this will occur though.

Well, I have to wrap it up because we leave for church notes in 5 minutes.

My final point will be this:

a better path is to be strategic, however, I am afraid that we might slip into a "whatever" approach.

here we go .....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bill Clinton to campaign with Obama

They are making their big run for the last 10 days ...



In yet another sign that Democrats are putting the contentious and hard-fought primary season behind them, former President Bill Clinton will campaign with Sen. Barack Obama for the first time in Florida on Wednesday, according to Matt McKenna of the Clinton Foundation.

Sen. Hillary Clinton will not attend the event but did recently campaign with Obama in Florida, a crucial battleground state that CNN currently considers a toss-up.

The Clintons also recently campaigned together with Sen. Joe Biden and Biden’s wife, Jill, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where both Joe Biden and Sen. Clinton have roots.

Obama met personally with former President Clinton in September at Clinton’s Harlem offices. Then, Clinton predicted that Obama would win in November “pretty handily.”

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10 more days ..... of course, I am not sure if it will be done in 10 days, I am sure there will be something that occurs and we will not know ...

Day at the Pool

Jacob is now on the swim team and this was his first meet. He swam in 4 events today. There was a total of 89 events. He swam in the following:

8, 18, 44 and 88

He did very well. I was proud of him. He did not win but he finished each race and finished them with determination. To me, his biggest accomplishment was his 200m freestyle event. He was not scheduled to swim it. A teammate did not make it and they inserted Jacob into the event. He never swam 200m before in his life. Yet, he got up the block and did it.

He was also part of 2 - 200m relays. He did the back in the medley and he participated in the free as well. His other solo event was the 50m fly.

Later in the week, I may post his 200m race. I do not expect anyone to watch it. It will be for our memory of his first ever swim meet and his first ever solo race - a 200m that he was scheduled to do.

We are "newbees" to this sport. We met at the high school at 11 am and drove over to Louisville, Ohio for the event. We arrived at about 12:15 and settled in and they warmed up. The event lasted from 1:00 - 4:20. Then the travel home.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama as a Baby



Obama and his mom as a youngster.

A McCain Ooops

His words got twisted a little:



I guess that I should find Obama/Biden "gaffes" so I am not looking "prejudice".

Rough Day for the Dow ?

From CNN:

A wave of anxiety about a global recession was set to reach the United States at Friday's Wall Street open, with limits imposed on futures trading after they fell more than 6%.

Futures followed the lead of plunging markets worldwide, with Japan's Nikkei index ending down 9.6%. European markets down almost as sharply, with major indexes down 8%in France and Germany and 7% in London.

Markets were down 14% in Moscow when the exchange there suspended trading until Tuesday.

"Today might be the day where everybody throws in the towel," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist for Avalon Partners. "People are saying 'I've had it, I can't take it anymore, I'm selling everything.'"

Markets were so jittery early Friday that the New York Stock Exchange felt it was necessary to post a statement on its blog confirming that trading would open as normal at 9:30 a.m. ET, saying it felt it was necessary to answer widespread rumors that the open would be delayed.

The NYSE also posted updated details of so-called circuit breakers, which would halt trading for certain periods of time if the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls between more than 1,100 points during the trading day. It said it was posting that information with "the fervent hope we won't need them."

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it will be interesting to see what happens as the opening bell goes off in 26 mins.

people are definitely concerned about economics, i know that i am ... and for me, it has nothing to do with losing "big bucks" on wall street ....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sarah Palin & Shrimp

Hey, I thought it would be neat to show pics of our politician from their younger years. I will put pics of all of them up over the next few days ....




Isn't political season fun ????

One thing bad about living in Ohio is the over abundance of ads, phone calls, mailing, pollsters, campaigners and more ..... they are definitely out to win Ohio

Outreach

Yesterday, I sat in on the outreach "committee" meeting.

We, as a church, are trying to be more intentional on outreach and ways that we can make a difference in the lives of those that we are in contact with and those that are hurting.

I am looking forward to the work that we may do and really excited with the possibilities of teaming up with community organizations already doing work - no need to "re-invent" the wheel.

Some of the agencies that we will be teaming up with will be the following:

- Interfaith Housing
- Salvation Army
- Children Services
- Free Medical Clinic
- People 2 People
- Pregnancy Care Center
- and .......

There are many things that these organizations are doing and doing well. Over time, I will share with you what they are doing and what we are doing to help them.

Yesterday, after the meeting, I went down to visit the Interfaith Housing office and the Salvation Army. It got me a little excited.

Hopefully, we can aim some of our ministries toward making a big difference in our community and county.

More later .....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What A View

An excursion boat cruises by trees in autumn colors on the Lake Chuzenji at Nikko, in north-central Japan, on Friday October 17, 2008. The trees around the scenic lake, located within the Nikko National Park, began to turn bright red and yellow earlier than usual and the foliage season is expected to reach its climax in the middle of next week, according to the local tourist association.


Puppies, Puppies and more Puppies ....

I needed a 10 minute break. I saw this story and had to share:



Before Kyla gave birth, Stephanie Pino thought the Great Dane looked like a white cow with brindle spots.

Pino knew Kyla’s litter was going to be large, but she had no idea how large.

After about 20 grueling hours of labor, Kyla gave birth to 19 puppies on Sept. 11. Sixteen of the puppies survived and are happy, healthy five-week-old bundles of joy at 12 to 15 pounds apiece.

“They just kept coming and coming and coming, and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ ” Pino said.

She had to deliver some of the puppies after the mama got too tired. Even the dogs’ veterinarian was shocked at the size of the litter, Pino said.

The head of the puppies’ daddy, Haze, is bigger than the entire body of one of his offspring. Haze weighs in at more than 200 pounds. When he stretches out, he’s roughly seven feet long. The Great Dane is one of the tallest dog breeds in the world.

Article From GJSentinel

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sufficient, Sustainable livelihood for all .....

We live in a world that is struggling. Poverty is up there as the #1 issue. Here is another post and ciew and document on the struggle that we find ourselves in ....

Our obligation and ongoing tensions

Based on this vantage point of faith, "sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all" is a benchmark for affirming, opposing, and seeking changes in economic life. Because of sin we fall short of these obligations in this world, but we live in light of God's promised future that ultimately there will be no hunger and injustice. This promise makes us restless with less than what God intends for the world. In economic matters, this draws attention to:

the scope of God's concern -- "for all,"
the means by which life is sustained -- "livelihood,"
what is needed -- "sufficiency," and
a long-term perspective -- "sustainability."

These criteria often are in tension with one another. What benefits people in one area, sector, or country may harm those elsewhere. What is sufficient in one context is not in another. What is economically sufficient is not necessarily sustainable.

There are difficult and complex trade-offs and ambiguities in the dynamic processes of economic life. As believers, we are both impelled by God's promises and confronted with the practical realities of economic life. We often must choose among competing claims, conscious of our incomplete knowledge, of the sin that clouds all human judgments and actions, and of the grace and forgiveness given by Christ.

Economic assumptions can conflict with what we as a church confess. Who we are in Christ places us in tension with priorities given to money, consumption, competition, and profit in our economic system.

While autonomy and self-sufficiency are highly valued in our society, as people of faith we confess that we depend on God and are interdependent with one another. Through these relationships we are nurtured, sustained, and held accountable.

While succeeding or making something of themselves is what matters to many in economic life, we confess that in Christ we are freely justified by grace through faith rather than by what we do.

While a market economy emphasizes what individuals want and are willing and able to buy, as people of faith we realize that what human beings want is not necessarily what they need for the sake of life.

While a market economy assumes people will act to maximize their own interests, we acknowledge that what is in our interest must be placed in the context of what is good for the neighbor.

While competitiveness is key to economic success, we recognize that intense competitiveness can destroy relationships and work against the reconciliation and cooperation God desires among people.

While economic reasoning assumes that resources are scarce relative to people's wants, we affirm that God promises a world where there is enough for everyone, if only we would learn how to use and share what God has given for the sake of all.

While economic growth often is considered an unconditional good, we insist that such growth must be evaluated by its direct, indirect, short-term, and long-term effects on the well-being of all creation and people, especially those who are poor.

When we pray in the Lord's Prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread," we place ourselves in tension with economic assumptions of our society. Rather than being self-sufficient, we need and depend on what God gives or provides through people, practices, and systems. "Daily bread" is not earned by efforts of individuals alone, but is made possible through a variety of relationships and institutions. God gives in ways that expand our notions of who "us" includes, from people close at hand to those around the globe. In stark contrast to those who seek unchecked accumulation and profit, our attention is drawn to those who are desperate for what will sustain their lives for just this day.


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Can we provide enough so that everyone can have sufficient livelihood ?