Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Playing sorry can be fun

On Tuesday evenings, Zach and Kara have dance. Dad takes them to that. I keep Kate. She has started this ritual recently of wanting to play Sorry on our Tuesday nights together. So we play Sorry. Sometimes she wins and sometimes I win. The big deal is that we play something together. We talk, laugh, and have fun together.

I used to hate Sorry. I hated going all the way around the board, only to have one of the other players get a Sorry, and knock my player out. I hated starting all over again. I hated losing, which is more by what cards you draw than by one's ability.

But I have come to enjoy playing sorry with my little girl, sometimes winning and sometimes losing, and not caring which one it is. They say a sign of maturity is when you don't always have to be first, don't get jealous of the other person who wins or is first, you don't always have to win. I must be finally maturing.

Its not Tuesday, but I think I'll go play Sorry with all the kids.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The First 90 days

Is it worth it?

Two years ago when they did this workshop, it was still being formulated. It did not include the church leaders. I found it hard to introduce it to the church when I moved. It comes from a business model and it was hard to get them to understand the value, so it did not work.

This time they include the church members. Plus, Sheri Ferguson, from the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling, teaches a section of it. She added a much needed dimension to the workshop. It also seemed to move away from business language and orientation to be oriented toward the church.

They give each of you a handout of the church's stats that you are going to. From that you are to determine if the church is a "turnaround church," a "on going successful church" or "a realignment church." This then helps you determine at what speed you will do things in the church. You are then to make a 90 day plan of how you will transition into the church.

The first time I went through this they had a followup meeting which was helpful also.

One thing is they have found that the conference has so many churches that are "turn around churches" that they are having to work on how to help with this transition. This also goes hand and hand with the NCD findings. In fact they have a workshop planned for the Pastors of Turn around churches.

I am going to a church as an Associate and so some of what I have to do is work out the plan with the Senior Pastor. The workshop is more geared to the Senior Pastor transitioning into a church. I really don't know how it will work this time around, but I'll let you know.

I will say that my present church leaders found the workshop very helpful and plan to put into place some of the things they learned.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Back home

We are back home from Florida. We really had a good time. We had breakfast with mom before we left this morning.
We drove all day today, and it was a long trip, especially for the kids. But we made it back safely. Drove through rain the last part of the trip.

I finished reading my book Miss Julia Strikes Back by Ann B. Ross. It was nice, light, leisurely reading.

I started rereading the book The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels by Michael Watkins. I read it two years ago when I moved here. Those who are being moved had to go to a workshop based on this book. We then had to come up with a 90 day plan for our new appointment. I didn't quite understand everything this book said because it is business oriented. But I am understanding it this time around. Now to come up with a 90 day plan and turn it in.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday prayer, Memorial Day Weekend

Merciful God,

Have mercy on us in our shortcomings, our failings, our railings against you and our sins.

Have mercy on us when we presume we can use war to fix what's wrong with the world or regions of the world.

Have mercy on us when we send young men and women to do the work of those who stay behind and decide when and where to send them, whose lives are then shed on fields we sent them to protect.

Have mercy on us when we don't honor those who naively put on the uniform to serve, who are too young to understand, and who have hope to make a difference.

Have mercy on us when we don't remember those who did give their lives on foriegn soil in wars numbered, named and un-named.

Have mercy on us when we ourselves cause war in our homes, our families, our friends, our work, our neighbors, our churches and within ourselves.

Thank you for your loving mercy, Lord.

Have mercy on us, Lord.Remind us that blessed are the peacemakers, for we shall be called children of God.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

gone for memorial day weekend

We are down here in Florida for my sister's wedding. All three kids were in the wedding. It was lovely and they did a good job.
It is such a long trip down here and back. It takes alot out of us to do this trip, but the family was all going to be together. We have had a good time together.
I appreciate the church understanding and supporting us to come. I really don't know when we will all get back together again, with this move.
We have to go back by Tuesday morning, the kids have school.
Bob did a lot of work to get us packed and the pod loaded so we can move. When we get back there will be more to do, but not as bad as it could have been.
It has really been nice to be with family.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Packing, Packing, and more packing

Hi all, if you wonder where I have been? well the title of this post should tell you.
We are busy packing for our move to a new church and a new town. We have also been busy between here and the new town in the process of buying a house, the church doesn't provide a parsonage, instead they have a housing allowance. We also have been busy between two churches, finishing up the ministry here and then all the pre-visits to get ready for the new church. And then add in the regular parenting going ons with the end of the school year happening, dance recital coming up and ball games, oh yes, did I mention we had birthdays too.
Zach turned the big Friday and we had a big bash at Chuckie Cheese. He had a blast and got some really nice presents. We had a good time too. He is so proud he is six now. Yea!

So if you want to help pack or clean the parsonage come on over we could use the help.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Prayer for Trinity Sunday

Prayer for Trinity Sunday

Gracious God,

Thank you for this new day.

Thank you for the opportunity to worship as your body of Christ.

Thank you for the Holy Spirit who fills us with the truth and wisdom.

Holy one, we pray for those who are suffering in China from Earthquakes, Myanmar from Cyclone, and those who suffer from starvation.

Lord we pray for your peace with justice throughout your whole world.

And now;

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Amen.

artwork by He Qui

cross posted at RevGalBlogPals and Preaching to the Choir

Saturday, May 17, 2008

In preparation for Trinity Sunday

Trinity Window is a window designed by Geoffrey Clark. Manchester England

Holy God, Three in One, you are our eternal hope,our companion in life,our liberating power. Lead us in your mission,baptizing and teaching in your blessed name,so that all may worship youto the end of the age.
Posted by David Gambrell

Monday, May 12, 2008

vacation pics

Here is a link to some of our vacation pics.

Young, Evangelical and for who? What?

Young, evangelical ... for Obama? By Haley Edwards a Seattle Times staff reporter notes that 15 percent of white evangelicals between 18 and 29, a group traditionally a shoo-in for the GOP, say they no longer identify with the Republican Party. This comes from a September 2007 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. College-age and 20-something Christians may be leaving the GOP, but only 5 percent of young evangelicals have joined the Democrats, according to the Pew survey. The other 10 percent are wandering the political wilderness, somewhere between "independent" and "unaffiliated." Shane Claiborne, a Philadelphia Christian activist and author of "Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals," has a different name for these folks: "political misfits."
Claiborne has traveled around the country the past several years, speaking and preaching mostly to college-age Christians who are "both socially conservative and globally aware." That makes them disenchanted with both major parties, he said.
"It's not about liberal or conservative, or Democrats or Republicans," he said. "I don't think it's a new evangelical left. ... There's a new evangelical stuck-in-the-middle."
"I think it's a new movement starting," said Amy Archibald, 19, a sophomore at the evangelical school. "Most of us would never blindly follow the old Christian Right anymore. James Dobson has nothing to do with us. A lot of us are taking apart the issues, and thinking, 'OK, well, [none of the candidates] fits what I'm looking for exactly.' But if you're going to vote, you've got to take your pros with your cons."
Judy Naegeli, 25, who works at a Christian philanthropy, says easy access to information about the world via social-networking sites, YouTube and blogs is the reason her generation is more concerned with social justice.
"It's changed our perspective. ... Each generation chooses their cause, and ours is AIDs in Africa, or poverty or social justice," she said.
Tyler Braun, 23, a Portland seminary student who opposes abortion and gay rights, said he'll probably vote for Obama because, since he'd would like to see U.S. troops leave Iraq.
Braun, the seminary student, said he's not totally committed to any candidate yet.
"I just keep thinking, if Jesus were alive now, he wouldn't necessarily be voting Republican," he said.

I am not surprised with this study and change in the mood of our country and young people. I wonder what this says to the church? And I wonder what we the church have to say to them? Are we listening to people like Shane Claiborne to hear what they have to say? Or have we lost touch and quit listening and caring? Perhaps Obama is listening or represents the possibility of change and betterment in our country. How can we the church do a better job than we are doing?

The Methodist church continues to shrink in numbers, in numbers of young people, and young people going into the ministry. Somewhere we are missing the boat, lost touch, and maybe we are even quickly sinking. What are we going to do about it? I don't think we have the luxory to say "Oh they'll come back when they have kids." cause it may really be too late then. And I don't think we should ever do that. Perhaps we need a changing of the guard, a willingness, a honesty, and an integrity that we don't have right now.

Gallup Poll gives Methodists highest positive ratings

Igniting Ministry is credited for the breakthrough in how the Methodists are viewed.

The question is; okay so what and now what? So what that we have a positive rating due to igniting ministry, isn't that nice. If are ratings are up, is our attendance up too? Is our outreach up too? Is our involvement in the world up too? Is our welcoming the stranger up too? How is this getting lived out in the local church? In the individual church member? And if we have this high rating, how come our numbers are still slipping? How come we have so many church closures? How come the number of young people going into the ministry is so low?
Yes, these are good numbers, good that we are viewed in a positive manner. I would hate for us to be seen other wise. Lets celebrate it, and keep building on this, and keep bringing it down to the local level.

UMNS — Methodists have the highest positive ratings of religious and spiritual groups in the United States, new research by the Gallup Panel shows.

Ninety-six percent of the 1,005 persons interviewed during the March poll had either a positive or neutral view of Methodists. Four percent had an overall negative view. The survey used the broader category of Methodists rather than United Methodists specifically.

Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, credited The United Methodist Church’s 7-year-old Igniting Ministry advertising campaign for moving “Methodists” out of the pack. The advertising campaign primarily targets persons seeking spiritual fulfillment who may not necessarily have a church affiliation.

Hollon said new research by Barna Research Group indicates that the “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” advertising slogan of Igniting Ministry is proving to be effective in communicating key characteristics of The United Methodist Church.

“One of the challenges that denominations typically face is that people don’t really know that much about them,” said Hollon. “The survey data gives us a snapshot of how others see us. The indication is that the campaign has helped to reframe people's indistinct perceptions about the church into something more positive.”

Gallup Poll

Methodists are one of the four U.S. religious groups with strongly positive ratings in the Gallup Poll. The others are Jews, Roman Catholics and Baptists. Broader groups of “evangelical Christians” and “fundamentalist Christians” did not fare as well, but still rated more positively than negatively, according to an analysis of the survey.

The random, demographically weighted poll was conducted March 24-27. Gallup says it has a margin of error of plus or minus 4% points.

Barna Research

The Barna study assessed 10 different statements about The United Methodist Church that reflect the intended communications within the advertising messages developed for the campaign. More than 1,200 respondents from six test markets were interviewed by the Barna Research Group in order to better understand how the denomination is positioned among the target audience of adults ages 21-60 who do not attend a United Methodist church and who are searching for something spiritually.

Among the findings:

  • 58% of respondents agreed that United Methodists care for and support each other, compared to 43% surveyed in 2002
  • 57% believed United Methodist accept you for who you are, up from 45% in 2002
  • 41% said United Methodist help you find deeper meaning and purpose in life, compared to only 26% in 2002
  • 51% said United Methodists help people facing personal difficulty, up from 38% in 2002
  • The survey showed that those exposed to the advertising campaign were much more likely to hold favorable views of The United Methodist Church than those who did not recall the advertising.

    The complete Barna survey is avaialble through Igniting Ministry.

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Story of My Mother-in-law

    My sister-in-law Edie Sodowsky, wrote an article about her mom, my mother-in-law that was published this last month in The Lutheran Witness magazine, a publication of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod. Congrats to Edie, she has tried several times to get published. It is a partial article and when she can get us the full article she will, and I'll post it as able. If you have a subscription you can read the full article. The article is about the period of time near the end of her life when she developed Alzheimer's disease and to her consequent death. She wrote it to help others and remember her mom. May it be of help to you.

    cartoons for Mother's day

    cartoons from Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonist's Index
    Share which ones you like or find elsewhere.

    Pentecost/Mother's Sunday's prayer

    Gracious God, who did send down your Holy Spirit to birth your church, rain down your Holy Spirit afresh today, Heal the broken hearted, the divisions in our churches, the stuck ones, the proud ones, the desperate ones, the lonely ones, those who have given up and quit trying. Forgive us for where we have closed ourselves to your Holy Spirit, where we have impeded the Holy Spirit, or where we have stood in the way. Come Holy Spirit inspire the hearts of us your faithful, kindle in us your love that we may love you, others, and ourselves. Come Holy Spirit, renew your people, pour into us the power of your creativity; that your light will shine in the dark places of this world.

    Holy one, we also today lift up moms everywhere; we who are moms presently, our moms, moms to be, moms who are now gone on from us, moms whose children have died before them, moms all around the world. We pray for those whose moms weren't able to really parent them, who were abusive, or had mental illnesses, or drug or alcohol abuses, other problems that affected their mothering. We pray for those who are childless not by choice; those who may be trying different medical treatments, or going through the adoption processes, or other means, or those who can't afford it at all. We pray for those who are not mothers by choice; whether by timing, situation, or just by choice, we don't want to leave them out as you don't. Lord we pray for moms whose children have made them happy and those whose children have disappointed them. We pray for those moms in countries that have less than we do trying to make sure their kids have the basics. We pray for those moms in countries who have to figure out how to protect their kids from war, the rebels, the terrorists, and the means of war left behind. And we pray for those moms, who have been through the recent natural disasters trying to remake life, provide shelter, and who may also grieve the death of their children.

    We pray all this and more through the power of your Holy Spirit who birthed the church, and through the name of Jesus, Amen.

    Also posted at revgalblogpals and preaching to the choir.

    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    Celebrating women, celebrating moms

    Introducing you to Liz McCartney of the St. Bernard Project
    What's a young woman to do with her life? She had it pretty good in Washington, D. C. But living 1,000 miles away in Washington, Liz McCartney was haunted by images of Katrina's destruction and stories of people like Aguilar. In February 2006, she, her boyfriend, Zack Rosenburg, along with her mother went to New Orleans to volunteer. But it didn't end there. They quit their jobs and moved to St. Bernard Parish. Now they're dedicated to helping people rebuild and move back into their homes. To day, the project has enabled more than 120 families to move back into their homes. She has been nominated as one of CNN's Heroes.
    You can find some videos about the project and Liz McCartney at CNN.
    A daughter a mom would be proud of.

    And what about the story of Central Washington softball players Liz Wallace and Mallory Holtman carrying around Western Oregon's Sara Tucholsky around the bases after she hit a home run but tore up her knee. Did it just say that the team mates of one team carried around the bases a member of the opposite team? Say what? Now that is the kind of player I want my girls to grow up to be like. You can watch the ESPN video here. And here is the whole story.
    They call it "Sportsmanship", how about you?
    Daughters a mom would be proud of.
    I don't know about you all the buzz about celebrity moms really bothers me.

    Michelle Duggar being pregnant with her 18th is just crazy. The only way the family makes it is if the older ones pull a lot of the weight. And who could afford paying for all those kids? Well if you go on tv like they did, well maybe you can. It just seems overboard.
    And finally let's celebrate our own moms.
    My mom wasn't a celebrity mom. She was a fish out of water being a mom in the South. She was from the North; whose mom worked outside of the home and couldn't cook one little bit. It was a learning curve for mom who hadn't even planned to move to the South once married. I don't think she even wanted to have kids as soon as she did. But have them she did. She learned to cook, but to this day would rather not. She also worked part time while we were growing up to help pay the bills, but mainly she didn't work. It was hard on her staying at home and raising us kids, but she did it. She suffered from depression.
    Being a mom now with three kids, I now know why she had a hard time. With three you are overwhelmed and things are happening all the time.
    My mom was such a giver to not only us but to everybody. If there was a need she was there reaching out, offering help. She was way involved in the church, teaching Sunday school, training union and the children. And she was a leader of the women's group. (We were Baptist.) She helped start the meals on wheels at our church while we were kids. How did she do it all?
    My mom went to work full time after we all finished school. She really was in her element then.
    I celebrate my mom for her loving us, for her mothering us, for her teaching us about how treat others, and for teaching us about Jesus. Thanks MOM!
    A Mom a daughter could be proud of.

    Saturday prayer for Pentecost

    O living God, come and make our souls temples of thy Spirit.Sanctify us, O Lord. Baptise thy whole Church with fire, that the divisions soon may cease, and that it may stand before the world as a pillar and buttress of thy truth.Sanctify us, O Lord.Grant us all the fruits of thy Holy Spirit: brotherly love, joy, peace, patience, goodwill and faithfulness.Sanctify us, O Lord.May the Holy Spirit speak by the voice of thy servants, here and everywhere, as they preach thy word.Sanctify us, O Lord.Send thy Holy Spirit, the comforter, to all who face adversity, or who are the victims of men's wickedness.Sanctify us, O Lord.Preserve all nations and their leaders from hatred and war, and build up a > community among nations, through the power of thy Spirit.Sanctify us, O Lord.Holy Spirit, Lord and source of life, giver of the seven gifts,Sanctify us, O Comforter.Spirit of wisdom and understanding, Spirit of counsel and strength,Sanctify us, O Comforter.Spirit of knowledge and devotion, Spirit of obedience to the Lord.Sanctify us, O Comforter.
    Prayer of Taize Community

    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    Pavarotti & Bono (U2) -- Ave Maria (Live)

    Not your Father's Ave Maria

    Here are the words:
    U2 Lyrics - Ave Maria
    (Pavarotti & Friends 2003)
    (Bono singing)

    Ave Maria
    Where is the justice in this world?
    The wicked make so much noise, mother
    The righteous stay oddly still
    With no wisdom, all of the riches in the world leave us poor tonight

    And strength is not without humility
    It's weakness, an untreatable disease
    And war is always the choice
    Of the chosen who will not have to fight

    Ave Maria

    (Pavarotti sings in Latin)

    Ave Maria
    Gratia plena
    Maria, gratia plena
    Maria, gratia plena
    Ave, ave dominus tecum

    (Bono singing)

    And strength is not without humility
    It's weakness, an untreatable disease
    And war is always the choice
    Of the chosen who will not have to fight

    (both singing)

    Ave Maria

    Ave Maria (English Hail Mary) is the salutation given by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation (Luke 1:28): Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum ("Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee").

    Okay, I am on a bend this week posting videos that have a message to them.
    I am a visual person, and love music, good music. So if you know of any good videos with a message email me. Or you have thoughts about the ones I am posting let me know.

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    Pink(f/ Indigo Girls)- Dear Mr President

    Pink(f/ Indigo Girls)- Dear Mr President - Live in NYC

    Whether you agree with her or not, hope you will listen to it.
    If you go to YouTube, there are several different videos of this song.

    Here are the lyrics;

    Dear Mr. President
    Come take a walk with me
    Let's pretend we're just two people and
    You're not better than me
    I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly
    What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
    Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
    What do you feel when you look in the mirror
    Are you proud
    How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
    How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
    How do you walk with your head held high
    Can you even look me in the eye
    And tell me why
    Dear Mr. President
    Were you a lonely boy
    Are you a lonely boy
    Are you a lonely boy
    How can you say
    No child is left behind
    We're not dumb and we're not blind
    They're all sitting in your cells
    While you pay the road to hell
    What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
    And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
    I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
    You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine
    How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
    How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
    How do you walk with your head held high
    Can you even look me in the eye
    Let me tell you bout hard work
    Minimum wage with a baby on the way
    Let me tell you bout hard work
    Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
    Let me tell you bout hard work
    Building a bed out of a cardboard box
    Let me tell you bout hard work
    Hard work
    Hard work
    You don't know nothing bout hard work
    Hard work
    Hard work
    How do you sleep at night
    How do you walk with your head held high
    Dear Mr. President
    You'd never take a walk with me
    Would you

    Monday, May 05, 2008

    Anne Lammott on the Colbert Report

    Listen and let me know what you think:

    A Presbyterian being interviewed by a Catholic.

    A Sunday School Teacher being interviewed by a Sunday School Teacher.

    Hat Tip to The Beatitudes Society

    Sunday, May 04, 2008

    Sunday's Prayer: Ascension Sunday

    Gracious, loving God,

    Here we are Lord, once again finding ourselves looking up for Jesus, looking in so many places for God knows what sometimes. Sometimes God it seems if we are just looking for ourselves. God in the midst of all of this world’s distractions, business, and activities that we can all get lost in to where we can’t really see you; help us in the midst of this moment to see you. Help us in this moment of quiet, stillness, and a slow breath, see ourselves clearly see you. As we go about our day, help us to have eyes to see you.

    And God just for a moment let others see Jesus in us. Amen

    Bellinge church fresco of the Ascension

    Saturday, May 03, 2008

    Prayer on Saturday

    Almighty God,
    As we prepare to preach, teach, and lead worship, guide our hearts our thoughts our words our hands.
    It is so difficult for those of us who did not grow up in a faith tradition that saw this to be an important part of what they taught or preached to wrap our minds around the Ascension.
    That may be a good thing, because we don't take it for granted that everybody out there knows the words, the scripture and its meaning. But God help us not to then over load everybody out there.
    And it may be a good thing that we are from the traditions that did include it in its teachings and practice, because we are comfortable with it and can move beyond just teaching to the depth of the experience.
    Where ever we are today with this Lord, inspire us that we too may be an inspiration to others, just as your son inspired those that day of ascension so long ago.

    Dinah Roe-Kendall's acrylic painting of the Ascension of Jesus

    Friday, May 02, 2008

    Wait and pray Friday Five.

    Sally from rgblps give us the Friday Five;

    Part of the Ascension Day Scripture from Acts 11 contains this promise from Jesus;"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Then he was taken from their sight into the clouds, two angels appeared and instructed the probably bewildered disciples to go back to Jerusalem, where they began to wait and to pray for the gift Jesus had promised.Prayer is a joy to some of us, and a chore to others, waiting likewise can be filled with anticipation or anxiety....So how do you wait and pray? Seems like this is the theme of my life. How many times in the scriptures do we read this....

    1. How do you pray best, alone or with others?
    Depends on the situation, and need. I listen better on my own, I can be still and quiet better on my own.

    2. Do you enjoy the discipline of waiting, is it a time of anticipation or anxiety? Are you kidding. I do not wait well. I think whether it is a time of anticipation or anxiety really depends on the situation, circumstances and how I am doing. I think the spiritual discipline of waiting can lead to it being more of a time of anticipation rather than being totally filled with angst. I think that is what I am trying to practice now the spiritual dsicipline. Thanks for the awareness that that is what this is, I had no idea. That helps.

    3. Is there a time when you have waited upon God for a specific promise? Oh Yeah.

    4. Do you prefer stillness or action? Both, I need the stillness to calm and center me. I need the action to put the energy to work and use somehow.

    5. If ( and this is slightly tongue in cheek) you were promised one gift spiritual or otherwise what would you choose to recieve? Well I am glad you said it was tongue in cheek, because of the old saying be careful what you ask for, or the thing about asking for patience and getting instead the trials to develop it. So thanks but no thanks.

    Bonus: It must be a requirement that if you are a songwriter or a band you must have one song about waiting. Movies like the theme waiting too. Harder to do with tv shows.

    But here is a song on waiting by FFH called In the waiting