Tuesday, July 31, 2007
~ You've waded in a creek wearing a necktie.
~ You've ever dreamed you were preaching only to waken and discover that you were.
~ You'd rather negotiate with terrorists than the church organist.
~ You see a picnic as no picnic.
~ You've ever wanted to fire the church and form a congregation search committee.
~ You've been tempted to take up an offering at a family reunion.
~ You've ever wanted to give the sound man some feedback of your own.
~ You've ever wanted to lay hands on a deacon, and you didn't mean praying for him.
~ You often feel like you are herding cats instead of shepherding sheep.
~ Your sermons have a happy ending...everyone's happy when it ends.
~ You've never preached on TV, because your wife made you get down before you broke something.
~ You feel that it is your job to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Only the Holy One can satiate the longing of our soul
Verily Christ has promised us God's eternal love that we might be made whole
Earnestly I seek to love God in return--through patience, prayer, worship, kindness, relationships, compassion and justice
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Sit up and sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Relax. Take a few slow deep breaths. (Pause 10 seconds).
It’s time for your shower. You go into the bathroom and close the door. Turn on the water. Take off your clothes and get in the shower. Let the hot water run over your body. You notice the water feels different today. You feel cleaner—not just free-from-dirt clean, but cleansed, inside and out. You remember the words from Sunday’s sermon “I am the living water”. You realize the cleansing you feel is from Jesus, not only is your skin getting washed, but your soul is being washed clean too. (Pause 10 seconds)
You pick up a bar of soap—it’s marked H.S.—Holy Spirit soap. As you scrub your body, the frustrations, pain, and irritations of the week surface. They rise into your chest and then to your throat. You feel them, lying there by your voice box—blocking the way. It’s harder to breathe. You want to be freed from them. (Pause 5 seconds) You scrub harder and as you do, you begin to cry. Your tears also wash over your skin and the pressure you just felt in your throat lessens. You begin to relax and your breathing slows. (Pause 10 seconds) You finish washing and get out to dry off.
Once you are dry, you put on lotion—it smells of frankincense and myrrh, (Pause 5 seconds) it’s anointing oil and as you lather it on, your wounds are healed. Scabs and scars disappear from your skin and you feel a tingle through your stomach, like free falling on a roller coaster, it’s exhilarating. You can’t help but smile. God has cleansed you and set you free from the scars of your past. Indeed, you are ready to start your day—cleansed and made new by the power of the Holy Spirit, the living water, and God’s anointing oil.
Sunrise at Mt. Sinai, Egypt. We got up (for those who went to bed) around 1:30 am to take the bus to the base of Sinai, where we each hitched a ride on a camel through the dark of night to the halfway point on the hill. Then we hiked the 800+ carved steps to the top to await the glory of the morning sun.
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel. I assume this Mosque is well known enough that it doesn't require much explanation....
Petra, Jordan. This ancient city was just voted as one of the new 7 wonders of the world. It is absolutely incredible to see. All of it is carved into the rock--no pillars etc brought in, all carved out of the rock....and many of the areas were carved just for burial--it was hard to wrap my head around putting so much work (I could imagine a life time) simply so you could die and lay there....
I'll probably post more on a later date, for now enjoy!
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I didn't bring it up with them, I was grateful they felt safe enough to share. But, their statement definitely threw up some red flags--first off, no person, other than Christ, "saves" us. Pastors do not "save" us. Friends, colleagues, etc, none of them save us. God "saves" us. God does the saving action in our life. People may serve as vessels that help us hear God or see God, but God is the only one who can do the saving work. I am frightened that what people get out of a worship service is that the Pastor (whomever he/she might be) would be the one to save them, and that being saved is about who saves you--as in, you could/should wait so that __________ can save you, rather than responding to God's call on your life whenever that might happen, regardless of the pastor that stands in front of you.
I was talking about being able to cross cultural boundaries in High School and said:
"Yo andaba con todos, con los indigenas de aqui, con los hueros, con los mexicanos, con los filipenses..." which translates, "I hung out with everyone, native americans, whites, mexicans, Phillipians...."
For the record, the word I was looking for was "filipinos" = Filipinos not "Filipenses" = Philippians
Then later A was talking and he said:
"Fue una situacion embarazoso"--you lose something in translation, but basically it means "it was a pregnant situation" (embarazada is a false cognate in Spanish/English and the word for embarrassed is "avergonzado"), so A should have said, "fue una situacion avergonzosa"--"it was an embarrassing situation"!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Approximate total: 1610+
Now, I am not so vain as to think I have had some life changing affect on all of those people, but in some way I have ministered to a whole lot of folks. I have taught a class, preached a sermon, offered care, or simply listened in the last 8 years to more people than I realized. It’s sort of wild to think of how broad the scope of my ministry has been and the potential for how many lives could be touched or affected. The other side of that coin being responsibility—I mean, if I screw things up, it’s not like just 10 or 20 folks would be affected, 1600 people is a fair number, so I better be stepping up and giving the best I can so that with the great number of people there is also great potential for doing the job right!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
As a small ethnic congregation, it regularly feels like we just get moved about as it seems to fit the needs of the larger, predominantly anglo, congregation. So, I wasn't terribly keen on just getting moved. But then he explained something to me--he said that a room or sanctuary generally fills to about 80% capacity. (Don't ask me why, that's just the statistic). But the implication of that stat is that our congregation, which is now totaling between 22-27 on Sunday mornings, doesn't have much more space to grow. (Somehow I have had it in my head that we would fill to *overfull* and then we would know we need to move spaces). So, if we moved to BH, with a max capacity of 60+, we would then have the potential for 50+ folks in worship--doubling our current worship size, AND giving us a screen to use for worship, and space for dancers or a praise band to lead us in worship. So, we are looking into making that move in the coming months. I hadn't realized that the size of our worship space could restrict our growth potential in such a profound way. So hopefully, the move will offer new possibilities.
**as a related note of success, in the fall we had set a goal of growing to 25 in worship for 2007 and then 50 for 2008. I hadn't remembered the goal but was delighted when I realized that essentially we had already met the 2007 goal, and was hopeful that a change in worship venue might allow us to meet our 2008 goal by the end of 2007! (Now, I realize that numbers aren't everything, and that is not the main motivation of my ministry here, but for a growing mission church, that kind of growth is very exciting and something to give thanks for!)
I first noticed the difference at Annual Conference. Last year, in addition to my family, I knew 15 pastors, more or less, and even fewer laity who gathered from around the conference. It felt like I had seen and greeted all those I knew in less than one day. This year, I couldn't even begin to tell you how many I know. Everywhere I went I ended up talking with someone, a fact which I am thoroughly grateful for, but which, at the same time, also generally made me run late for EVERYTHING! This year I actually knew what was happening at conference, what to expect, how to manage things (though my lesson this year was that I should NOT try and attend everything, because it is simply not possible). And there was that sense--I'm inclined to call it the "Second year sense"--the sense of not being the new kid anymore, the sense of knowing people, of having settled in a bit, the sense of confidence in being able to serve and help others as they too get accommodated.
It's second year hear at the church and that too feels different. Not only do we have a new Senior pastor, but I know people--I go to an event now and end up circulating at all of the tables so I can greet people--and by in large, at most gatherings I know at least 90% of the people--there is comfort in that. There's ease.
One of the key components of my character is that I am a helper--I like being of service to people--able to answer questions, give directions, whatever. And no longer being *new* to everything makes that A LOT easier. So, I breathe a little easier these days--not because the work is any easier (though it at least is less cantankerous), but because I am settling in, and it feels good!
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Monday, July 2, 2007
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Oramos por los que han sufrido destrucción. Por los que tienen cases inundadas. Por los que tenian una casa que fue desrumbada por el viento. Por los que no tienen casa y viven dentro de una caja o con solo una manta.
Oramos por los afligidos. Por los con la SIDA. Por los con cancer. Por los con enfermedaes. Por los con enfermedades mentales. Por los que no saben lo que tienen.
Oramos por los que sufren abuso. Por los ninos que temen por sus vidas y su propia seguridad en sus casas. Por las esposas que temen el toque del pareja. Por los ancianos que son maltratado. POr las victimas de violencia sexual. POr los ninos que sufren los ataques de otros ninos.
Oramos por tantos mas que estan en nuestros corazones.
Hoy buscamos refugio en ti. Buscamos seguridad en tus brazos. Buscamos consuelo de ti. Buscamos sanidad de tu uncion. Buscamos paz del principe de pas. Buscamos reconciliacion por la redencion de Cristo. En ti, O Dios, hay esperanza. Esperamos por la respuesta. Esperamos por ayuda y sanidad. En ti confiamos, y a ti buscamos. En el nombre de Cristojesus nuestro Senor y salvador.