Monday, January 30, 2006

Awkward Moments

Yesterday during the sermon one of the congregants had "an episode". I don't quite know what to call it, or how to explain it. And yet I'll try.
I have had a couple of people who have had heart attacks while I was in the pulpit. The ushers were responsive and got the individual out to the narthex, called the ambulance, with the warning not to come with sirens blaring. When the service was over I made the trek to the hospital and visited with the patient.
Yesterday was different. I have a nurse in the congregation and she noticed one of the other people in church who had bowed his head unnaturally and had actually heaved on the floor of the sanctuary. She went to him immediately and knelt in the aisle while I was preaching and tried to get this individual to go to the narthex and be treated. He adamantly refused and sat in his seat until about 10 minutes later. I was trying to keep the focus of my sermon, but it got lost pretty promptly. I wonder if others have had similar incidences in their congregations and how it might have been handled. I always feel totally helpless in such situations. My gifts do not include the gift of healing, and I am not one who tries to put others on the spot and to take a pause until the person gets themselves gathered together again seems a bit of a waste and overly personalizing the event for the person who is already suffering.
This is not likely to be the last time someone has an episode in church and I wonder what the protocol might be, or how to train others when my nurses are not present in the congregation, let alone a doctor.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Disciple Study

Jesus in the Gospels:
Another in the line of great Disciple Bible Studies. We are now into lesson 10 with our cluster group - Del Rosa UMC, Highland UMC, Emmanuel UMC, St. Paul's UMC, Fontanta UMC, Muscoy UMC, Rialto UMC, Colton UMC/Tongan & Legacy Congregations, Redlands UMC, Redlands University UMC. While not all the churches participate in the study, it does make for an interesting group and lots of great ministry opportunities.
We have a lenten lunch series through the Lent season, with a lunch hosted by each church. We have some oncoming cluster youth opportunities. We also have some cool things that happen to tie the churches together like a pulpit exchange in the Fall.
Highland UMC has a got a new ministry of Prayers and Squares that Rev. Cindy Huskey is trying to put together. You might want to check it out here. Pretty cool stuff.
The diversity of views int eh studies and across the clergy themselves make it all very interesting. The more intriguing part to me is the way that UMC clusters were designed to help alleviate some of the pressures of cost associated with being small rural or even urban churches. The design was to help churches hire a secretary to share (or other such employee) and buy in bulk so that the cost comes down on supplies. Some churches with shared pulpits and part time pastors in multiple charges might already do some of this. Good stuff in my book.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Another Day

Sometimes the world just seems to float by and the need to absorb oneself in something like a three-day sleep seems all too enticing.
Today is one such day. Of course it has been coming for several days now, and the days are only going to get longer (literally and figuratively even), not to mention the additional weariness that comes with it all.
I met with the Staff-Parish Relations Committee yesterday and we discussed a number of matters. One thing I failed to notice was the change in the Discipline which required the SPRC to recommend health and life insurance options for all employees and 3% pensions for all employees over the age of 21, employed for 1 year or more and working at least 1040 hours per year. Gotta hand it to the SPRC they recommended 5%. Now off to the Finance Committee with that little ditty.
We also have the Covenant for Vital Ministry that the Conference is currently requiring for all pastors and SPRCs to do, along with a future piece for the local church to do as a measure of vitality/viability and desire to grow. This replaces the old method of self-analysis for review each year.
The challenge is that we needed to make a change in Chairmanship with the resignation of the former chair. We elected from within the committee and have some great hopes for the year ahead.
Reviews still need to be completed for several of the employees for the first time since they were hired, some as long ago as 10 or more years. That is some tough stuff to slog through, but I am impressed time and again with the competency of the committee.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Prep Time

So I have been working on the sermon for Sunday. There are some cool pieces to the Lectionary. This week it is the story of Jonah calling for repentance in Ninevah and the calling of the first disciples on the Sea of Galilee. I chose the sermon title "casting your net" and was surprised to find another blogger looking at the same ideas of the text. Awesome work Enter the Rainbow. I needed to take another look.
There is a theme of casting the net, and the things we face in casting the nets of the church to make disciples. A couple of things came to the fore in my readings this time. Jonah casts the net, but doesn't really want to catch anything. It is kinda like using a little fisher's net to grab the fish when you have caught them on the pole. God was rather deliberate in his fishing for Jonah, kinda like using a pole, with a particular lure to catch him. The real revelation came after reading the message of Mark's Gospel.
Here is the NRSV text:

Mark 1:14-20

14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” 16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Jesus appears in this reading to call to the men in the boat (James/John/Zebedee and the hired men), and only James and John come. The fisherman's net is cast out on the sea and doesn't catch all the fish, nor is it intended to do so, only those that are large enough to get caught in the netting, and small enough not to throw off the net when it falls upon them.
Now for the real challenge of what the appropriate corrollary might be for study, who are the fish that are too small, and those that are too large?

Monday, January 16, 2006

You've got a friend

Winter Camp theme: "You've got a friend in me."
Scripture: John 15:12-17 (Jesus calls the Disciples friends)
We covered a lot of stuff, about friends...who they are, why we have them, what we should do to keep them, who we should cut.
I have to say that the most moving campfire/morning watch time was this morning.
Mrs. Kelley Hussey shared about a friend who she sometimes treats better than all the others, sometimes she picks on this person harder than any other, she criticizes and breaks down in ways that are only imaginable to us because we are prone to do the same thing. This person is the first person each of us sees in the morning and last one we see before we go to sleep. This friend is each one of us. That was powerful. Friendship begins with us, how we care for ourselves will be reflected in how we treat others, but in reality there is noone who will ever meet us without us being our own friend first.
Thanks Kelley, that was important stuff.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Winter Camp

Riverside District Winter Camp is upon us, with Jr and Sr high groups gathering together, and Elementary Camp scheduled for the same site. I am praying for our youth as they head to the mountains of Southern California. A little snow would be fun, but snowed in would be bad. Good weather would be appreciated.
I'll share a little more later.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Youth Program

Okay, just for fun here is tonight's youth group program:

Theme: The Game of Life
Topic: Wheel of Fortune
Gathering Time: Visit
Opening: Matthew 6:19-21
Treasures in Heaven
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Game: Duck, Duck, Goose
Craft: A priority wheel. Using a piece of background paper, draw a circle, divide up your ideal day, coloring in with markers, crayons, drawings, or construction paper. Briefly explain your wheel to other members of your group.
Scripture:Matthew 6:19-21
Treasures in Heaven
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Review: Share a little of where your treasures are based on your priority wheel.
Closing: Share your 1 High and 1 Low of the week, and the Numbers 6:24-26 benediction.

Hope that works for our crew.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

So tired

I would love to write more, but find myself just weary. I am tired and ready to shut down for a week. This is going to be an interesting moment of delusion as I have Winter Camp with the Riverside District this weekend from Friday to Monday. Great kids from junior and senior high are going to be there, and elementary camp at the same time.
Good stuff.

Monday, January 09, 2006


The funeral on Sunday went well.
There were some tremendous moments of God's inpouring throughout the day.
We did a baptismal remembrance service during the morning and that was very special. We had a nice insert in the bulletin about the gentleman that passed away, and included his date of baptism. The great thing about that was that it was also the same day that he joined the church. Very cool. The really cool moment of the baptism remembrance was that several people splashed the water out of the bowl onto the sides of the stand as they dipped their hands in and placed the water upon themselves. I used it to wrap the sermon (the service was inserted in the sermon) with the recognition that ourbaptism should be splashed about and get other people wet. I had several comments on that.
The first of the services for Richard Ernest Weisner was a graveside. That was a tough one as he usually would have been taking flowers graveside for his deceased wife from the Christmas Poinsettias. We took some as a reminder of that gift he shared with her, and used reflections of what he might have told her should he have been sitting graveside with her this year, as so many before.
The second service was the memorial at the church. I have to say the best thing about that was the postlude, and recessional. We sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" while the family walked out to the reception, complete with hamburgers and hotdogs. Can't beat that kind of fellowship.
The evening was capped off with a great rendition of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" put on by the children of the church. Del Rosa is truly blessed in the music department, as our choir director and lay leader/substitute organist managed to sing their way through the church service, play and solo for the memorial, and then play and direct the play last night. The encore performance by the children was done with incredible work, with only a single run-through since Christmas Eve (just before the play last night).
All in all a very busy day, but filled with many blessings, and some great people.
Blessings to you,

Friday, January 06, 2006

Something to Do

So I am feeling lazy on writing about the other stuff....takes energy and I am conserving for the funeral I am doing Sunday afternoon.

The 4 Things thing...
1. Envelope stuffer (Motivation Development Inc - Parents)
2. Box Boy - Manor Market
3. Resident Advisor - Paty Hall, University of Alabama
4. Youth Pastor - Dunwoody UMC, Santa Barbara FUMC, Del Rosa UMC

1. Victory w/ Sylvester Stallone/Pele
2. Dogma
3. Clash of the Titans
4. Lord of the Rings Series

1. Arcadia, CA
2. Bishop, CA
3. Atlanta, GA
4. Tuscaloosa, AL

1. Scrubs
2. Numbers
3. Real World/Road Rules Challenge
4. Extreme Makeover Home Edition

1. Mazatlan, Mexico
2. Canada (visited all kinds of parts, nothing I could point to specifically)
3. New York, NY (My Sister)
4. Maui, Hawaii (My Aunt and Uncle)

1. My Yahoo
2. Gmail
3. Myspace
4. UA Wesley Foundation Chat Board

1. Grilled burgers
2. Crablegs
3. Chicken Fingers
4. A good cheese plate

1. My wife's arms
2. In the snow in Bishop
3. Skiing at Mammoth
4. My in-laws' house in Lower Alabama

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I was tagged recently by Cristina, very lamely mind you (she tagged anyone who even reads her blog, let alone the others named) on my daily blog reading.

The name of the game- I have to discuss 5 things that people don't know about me. Then I get to tag 5 other people and make them do the same.

1) I dated Minnie Mouse (she played the character at DisneyLand) a couple of dates worth

2) I was a professional athlete (We played club Ultimate Frisbee in college and did well enough in a couple of tournaments to get paid)

3) While I have never successfully surfed on water I have done quite well sand surfing (Thanks to the Boy Scouts and the Presbyterian Church for the trips to the Eureka Sand Dunes)

4) I have chameleon eyes. For soem reason the shade of blue/green I have changes depending on my mood, sleep, activity and health. I know this is common for folks to have color changes in their eyes, but the range doesn't seem to be as large as mine.

5) I have a great love for movies, but can't quote lines like all the other folks I know who have seen and appreciated as many movies as I have.

Now it's time to tag some folks. I am not sure if it's worth tagging, but hey why not.




Kansas Bob

The von Hermanns

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Really? (Feel the sarcasm dripping)

So the Christian Examiner, a publication in Southbern California recently held a GodBlogCon (article here), which was held at Biola University. Strangely enough, none of the folks I have read recently mentioned anything about this. Are the folks I read that underread, and uninfluential? I doubt it. Do these bloggers not share some of the same concerns over orthodoxy that the organizers hold? I doubt that one too. I suspect that it was a pet project at Biola that was put to the bloggerazzi (did I just coin a new word?), who were in charge of putting it out to their mainstream audiences in the boomer generation. Which raises an interesting bit for me as to what the complexion of blogs may hold in the way of ages. I don't know if there is anything that could give me some real data on that, but it might be worth studying. If so, how do you aim such a thing at the Boomers.
I say aim it at the Boomers for a very real reason. They are 66 million, and the Gen Xers are 18 million and the Millenials are 77 million. The millenials are already on board with this whole method of communication. The Gen Xers are fighting for a voice, and with numbers like the ones mentioned above I can understand why. The Boomers are the ones who were born in the church and have wandered away, have struggled to stay up-to-date, and want desperately to fit in, why not with the new bandwagon of blogs and help to find the niche market that is the Boomers...and help connect them with the church. The trick is finding the way to their traffic. I suspect that keeping myself on the Methodist Blogroll will not get me there, but is no reason for me to remove myself from said tool. I may get some traffic from another who has made that connection. The question is whether there is a blogroll that does work. Getting my name in print in the Christian Examiner wouldn't do it with the unchurched (BTW- I DID NOT get my name in the Examiner-I didn't go to the conference, and don't consider myself all that influential through my blog).
That seems to be the question of evangelism as broached in previous posts. The question prevails for me as to how to reach said unchurched persons, not to mention keeping them hooked so that they will continue to check out the periphery and then find a way to receive a full-blown invitation to the church, mine or the one closest to them. This kind of conversation with my peers in the blogosphere would really interest me, not to mention the myriad other friends of the clergy and laity that might help direct my thoughts to make the whole possibility a closer reality.