Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I said I would

Write, that is. I ws going to try and write more frequently in this mess I call a blog. It doesn't seem to carry much weight, though I am definitely carrying more this year. So off to try and find the best fit for my fitness. I love soccer, and I enjoy TV watching. I fidget a lot during the day and take short walks all through the day. I eat more than I should and so I am trying to lay off the extras, and I suppose fewer slugs of the great nectar of COKE will help as well. I would love to have a treadmill at the house to watch TV and walk or run on. We had a simulated ski machine at the house where I grew up with my parents, but my coordination never quite made it to the level of intimacy needed for using that machine regularly. I did try going out to play tennis with some of the locals in San Bernardino, but the tennis just wasn't all that much work, and I was quickly reminded why I quit in the first place. My shoulder hurts too much from my serve. I would love to have a coach and regular practices with soccer or basketball. I love those sports, and I need the extra running. I can remember running for nearly two hours in a soccer game, and sometimes I played more than one in a day. Then in college I played Ultimate Frisbee and we often had 4 games in a day, and ran a lot. The best one was going "savage" at a tournament in Louisiana. Savage in Ultimate is playing with only seven players...the minimum required, no subs. We worked very hard that day and surprisingly didn't get totally worked by the other teams. We played respectably. Too much reminiscing and not enough exercise, enjoying too much of that great food that Jonathan so fabulously remarked on from the previous post. Oh yeah, maybe I ought to make a few more links in my posts, just not today folks sorry. I am too tired and my body is still trying to figure out what in the world, and more importantly where in the world.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


So I have returned from a great Thanksgiving with my in-laws in Alabama. This was definitely a good time. I must say that my body clock was thoroughly messed up during this trip. I can't say for certain what the cause was as there were several. The first was that I took the red eye to Alabama from California. I got three hours of sleep that night, on the plane...not so good. Then I had the bright idea that I would do some hunting while in Alabama with my in-laws. This meant some early mornings to go sit on a tree stand and wait for the deer. The morning hunting was not I remarked at one point about my success, "I heard a lot of shadows". The upshot of it was that I did bag a buck on my first evening hunt. I went out at dusk and stayed to twilight and got a small buck, no points. But, alas gotta give thanks for Alabam law. The small ones must be out of their spots, and this one was. One shot one kill. Definitely got the blood pumping. Then there was the great food of Thanksgiving itself. My mother-in-law, and her mother are two of the finest cooks I know and they threw together an awesome spread. Good eats for a couple of days. My wife and I even packed a little to go cooler for a weekend trip to the sands of Destin, FL.
All in all a great time, and much to be thanksful for, especially some great in-laws that I have fun with, enjoy and think the world of.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Thanksgiving at Del Rosa UMC means it is time for Stone Soup.

I thought I would post the story for you to see what I am talking about.


Stone Soup

A tramp knocked at the farmhouse door. "I can't let you in, for my husband is not at home," said the woman of the house. "And I haven't a thing to offer you," she added. Her voice showed unmasked scorn for the man she held to be a beggar.

"Then you could make use of my soup stone," he replied, pulling from his pocket what appeared to be an ordinary stone.

"Soup stone?" said she, suddenly showing interest in the tattered stranger.

"Oh yes," he said. "If I just had a potful of water and a fire, I'd show you how it works. This stone and boiling water make the best soup you've ever eaten. Your husband would thank you for the good supper, if you'd just let me in and put my stone to use over your fire."

The woman's suspicions yielded to her desire for an easy meal, and she opened the door. A pot of water was soon brought to a boil. The tramp dropped in his stone, then tasted the watery gruel. "It needs salt, and a bit of barley," he said. "And some butter, too, if you can spare it." The woman obliged him by adding the requested ingredients. He tasted it again. "Much better!" he said. "But a good soup needs vegetables and potatoes. Are there none in your cellar?"

"Oh yes," she said, her enthusiasm for the miracle soup growing, and she quickly found a generous portion of potatoes, turnips, carrots, and beans.

After the mixture had boiled awhile, the man tasted it again. "It's almost soup," he said. "The stone has not failed us. But some chicken broth and chunks of meat would do it well."

The woman, recognizing the truth of his claim, ran to the chicken yard, returning soon with a freshly slaughtered fowl. "Soup stone, do your thing!" she said, adding the chicken to the stew.

When their noses told them that the soup was done, the woman dished up a healthy portion for her guest and for herself. They ate their fill, and -- thanks to the magic stone -- there was still a modest bowlful left over for her husband's supper.

"My thanks for the use of your pot and your fire," said the tramp as evening approached, and he sensed that the husband soon would be arriving home. He fished his stone from the bottom of the pot, licked it clean, and put it back into his pocket.

"Do come again," said the thankful woman.

"I will indeed," said the tramp, and disappeared into the woods.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Meme Thoughts

I just don't know much of anything anymore about this blog. I want to keep posting, but feel a bit like my sister - she always mentions that there isn't much to tell and so conversations with her by phone are short.
I don't want to fall into the trap of doing memes just to have something to post. So I have got to work on the list of stuff to talk about. I could do the whole sports blog piece - Lakers, UCLA, BAMA, Rams, Kings and Ducks, not to mention the LA Galaxy, US Soccer and some overseas stuff, and World Cup. I could do cover stories for the Soccer team I play with on Monday nights and give a short recap (hey the church funded the team this time around so maybe I ought to do something like that). I know a lot of folks are not into sports, and so I don't want to talk just about that. The church stuff can get kinda mundane, though I have tried to share something that comes in the prep for sermons with you all. Maybe I ought to review my thoughts after Bible study too...though I am taking a break for much of December on concentrate on youth work...again another topic that could be rehashed.
I thought about some reviews...and a friend has a great thing he did with some stuff, like a stamp of approval. Maybe I could find a decent picture to serve as the stamp of approval. Most of all I want to get into a rhythm. The trick will be when I am away and cannot get to the online resources. The piece that works in that case is just to write and then post upon my return and go forward from there. It isn't that there is nothing to say, I am just not sure what to share and what not to share.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Full Week

Trying to get into the habit of at least posting more regularly is going to take some effort. But, for now I can at least give a summary of the week of the church so far.
We had a good service on Sunday. We talked about the parable of the talents (5,2,1) and looking at it from a standpoint of faith rather than money or "talents", and doubling our faith, by the gift of sharing with others. Monday was Charge Conference (The annual business meeting of the local church where we give our reports to the District). This went well and we had some great reports. When it came time for the "Pastor's Report" I simply said that the report of the pastor is the work of the people. These people are the ones who are keeping the life of the church growing, moving, and sustained. If I am offering them something that keeps them going then that is my job. If I can help them to do it better, then that is my job. If they are doing what they should then I am doing what I should. Tuesday was a funeral for a 17 year old child who had been totally handicapped, mentally and physically, except for some slight facial movement, and the ability to blink for 5 years. This as a result of appendectomy surgery that went horribly awry. That was tough. Wednesday was Bible study, and a great youth outing/scavenger hunt. They went "trick or treating" without the tricking, for boxes of food for the local Frazee Community Center that serves as an additional resource to the San Bernardino Community, not unlike the Salvation Army. Today is a little slower, and then tomorrow is another funeral for the mother of one of our church members. It wasa long fight with some rough illness, and we give thanks that she has gone on to be with her Creator.
That is all for now.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Ever just have one of those screaming fits. I think I might just have to do just that...
BAMA lost on Saturday in a heartbreaker...that was monstrous for my demeanor and that doesn't usually happen.
Friday I was asked to help prepare for a funeral for a family I didn't know, which is always tough, and the fact that it was my day off made it harder. A blessing as it happened, but still tough.
I have two funerals this week, and Charge Conference tonight...
Throw in the tension of the holidays and it just makes for a ripe little mutiny in my head...though I'm not sure what is revolting against what or whom.

Peace, (and boy do I hope it comes)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The World of Politics

For the most part I have stayed out of political discussions in the past, but today got me. I was down at the local pizza joint and had just ordered lunch with the church secretary. I sat down with her to watch the news while we waited, and the bombings of the hotels in Jordan were on. We watched for a period of time, and then the owner of the restaurant came out to sit and talk. This was his home - Jordan.
The politics don't really matter in a situation like that. You just try to be present and talk and share and be human together in that moment. In my view that is pastoral care and that is being a person of faith, who shares a love for another fellow human. Never mind that additional attraction that I have been working on trying to develop relationships with different folks here in the neighborhood around our church to make it easier to be The United Methodist Church of Del Rosa.
All in all, a powerful moment, I wanted to share.

Lectionary Prep

Yesterday was a great day with some fellow pastors. We took the time to travel down to Newport Beach to visit the home of one of the pastors there, and five us, including the host sat down around the table for 7 hours of lectionary prep. This is new to me, as I was only recently invited to join the group. Over the course of 20 some years the group has had some various incarnations, but always focused on the desire to study the scriptures in preparing for the preaching and worship of the church.
This event was a time to get an overview of the seasons of the church, and an attempt to glean some more valuable sight about where we are going in the Year B Lectionary, which starts in just three weeks, with Advent 1, on November 27.
I hope to have resources to post for others. The exciting thing for me was the chance to review the year at a whole, and not have to do it all myself. We will then come back together in December and do a two-month review of the lectionary to come for those months, with a little more in depth preparation.
In my preparations I took the four (or more) texts for a given week (My set of dates was October and November of next year - Common time) and printed them out. I then looked them over and tried to find a few things. My keys were to find 1) an overall theme 2) Highlights 3) Disturbing Passages and 4) Preaching Paths. I did this for each week. What I got from another person who prepared was a long overview done in spreadsheet, which allowed me to look at the themes of each of the text areas, like OT, Gospel, Psalms, and Epistle. Now to see what I can do to make that all happen with the work I did. When it is done I will post it and you are free to rip it as you like.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I feel so dirty

This weekend was a great football weekend, but I found myself needing to take a shower at the end of the day. I rooted for teams that are just horrible no-nos to root for, no matter what, of course one was mitigated by facing another team that is not worth rooting for. I say this at the risk of much verbage at my overwhelming's okay I can live with being prejudiced in this case.
Yes, I rooted for Miami, over Virginia Tech. I had hoped that UCLA might have a better chance to make the National Championship...and then they blew it with a horrendous loss to the Arizona Wildcats.
Yes, I rooted for Notre Dame. As a member of a USC household, both parents graduated from there, that is a horrible no-no. Throw in the BAMA graduate in me, and I have a heated vengence saved just for Notre Dame. But, they were playing Tennessee and there is no-one more hated in the Crimson Tide pantheon of enemies than Phil Fulmer right now. That's what getting BAMA in trouble with the NCAA for losing a bidding war on a player will get you...not to say BAMA didn't deserve it, but that it was very anger inducing. Way to go Notre Dame.
The irony is that BAMA will probably get pushed out of the BCS now that Notre Dame has enough wins to get an at-large bid to the BCS now...that will bite if it comes to be. Now I just have to hope that BAMA can close out their season with LSU and Auburn, not to mention the SEC championship game. If they do that, they should easily jump back over Miami, and make it tough for Texas to make a full-fledged argument that they belong at #2 more than BAMA...but hope springs eternal.
Enough of the football musings, I need to go take another shower. I can't shake that dirty feeling for rooting for those teams this weekend.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Youth Ministry

Wednesday night youth group went well. There were four adults there and 11 youth. It is always interesting to see what the youth mode of function is when entering a group to sit in. At least that was my initial plan for Wednesday. But, as facts prove out, that was not the case. Ig was called on to be involved in a lifesaver tasting game with the rest of my team of 7 total members. I was asked to lead the conversation on more than a couple of occasions. I was also asked to lead us in the closing prayer, which we did with the UMY benediction, which some of you may not have understood that way, but may know it as Numbers 6:24-26. "May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and give you peace...go in peace." (I may have screwed that up, my brain is just not working right this AM) I then got to take two of the youth home afterward and that got me started in a new vein of conversation.

There is a lot of work to do with these youth, and so I am also putting a beggar's plea out there for anyone in youth ministry who knows of good resources for programs. I like the programs that include a piece of music that ties in with a game, that ties in with a theological discussion, and a closing moment (The closing would probably be a round of highs and lows followed by the benediction). The big plug in my book would be the contribution of some solid, some vigorous activities with sound theological discussion starters. Anyone, anyone?

A great shout out to Steve, who gave me some review of the progress of days gone by, and a great quote on "A Walking Paradox" Kudos to you Steve (Plus you expanded my reading list...I gotta go read some Shelly)


Wednesday, November 02, 2005


So I start back into youth ministry tonight. I have to say I have never fully left. I have continued to do camps, as I love that side of it.
I spent about 8 years doing direct youth leadership. I was the assistant youth director of Dunwoody UMC in Atlanta, Georgia during my days in seminary. That was a lot of fun. We watched the Sr. High youth group go from 8 youth, down to three and then back up the more than 25 in the two and a half years there. The big kicker was watching the Jr High group of 6-8 graders go from 20 to 75 per night. That was a big growth spurt. I then took a job at Santa Barbara FUMC as the Youth and Young Adult director and was again blessed with a large staff, like Dunwoody did with volunteers. We had 17 seniors graduate my third year at Santa Barbara and had a hard time recovering from that, but still managed to build from the bottom up with new sixth graders. Now at Del Rosa UMC in San Bernardino we have about 16 active youth in a single youth program of 7-12 grades. I have done a few programs with them over the past year and a half and coming in December I am the youth director and the pastor...a full-boat to be sure. My hope is that we can facilitate the move to a cluster youth group of three of the local churches, and build and teach the leadership. This is the big reason for making the shift in leadership, to work fully toward a cluster youth group, bringing everyone onto the same page, and doing that from the top, with training and leadership development, as well as finding the spaces for the youth to understand the larger United Methodist Church.
I remember well the story of many of my youth in Santa Barbara, and even at Dunwoody, who claimed they really wished we had done more with other churches and with the conference and district earlier, including and especially camps. They felt like they had been left out of some great club. I think that is a great word for the UMC, especially in trying times like these with the Judicial Council Decisions. Youth just want to be with one another, and to learn and fellowship with God.
Take note folks, this can be fun. So, back to work...