Saturday, May 30, 2009

Visited Tag A Long Motorsports

Yesterday morning I got ambitious and took a long walk through Ojai, winding up on Bryant Circle at a Garage Sale. As I was exiting the Garage Sale, during my whole walk back up Bryant Circle I saw a string of motorcycles of all varieties. 
There must have been two hundred motorcycles that passed the Bug and I as we took our walk. I swore I was back at Daytona Bike Week (which I was at in the Spring of 1993-for Florida Evangelism Project with Intervarsity at Emory University). There were a lot of bikes.

So as I approached Ojai Avenue I came across some unsuspecting bikers who had stopped, and were even directing traffic down the way. I had to ask what they were all gathering to see. (Now, those of you that know me, understand that I would not chase such a party to see the action as it happens, but inquire so that I might find out later. I am not a big fan of big crowds).

This afternoon I got a little restless again after the Bug and I had naps, and so I decided to find out what was down that way. It turns out Tag A Long Motorsports was offering a display of Motorcycles. Tag A Long Motorsports is the dream child of Wonder Bread heir Mike Taggart, who did an amazing job of displaying the collection of Motorbikes, including several racing varieties, and to my amazement a Vespa style scooter (in 60s styling), and a Honda Scooter.

If you get a chance, and especially if you love Motorbikes, go check it out. Mike loves to share and admire. As such it was very hard for me to grab his ear for anything than a moment to say thank you for sharing, as he was well entrenched with some late-to-the-party bikers.


Leading the Church

I Refuse to Lead a Dying Church, by Paul Dixon was recently on my reading list. I perused the book and found several key items. 

I was reminded of them yesterday when I read a quote by Adam Hamilton, from his Annual Conference. "I'm really not interested in serving an organization whose best years are behind it."

I concur. I too am refusing to lead a dying church. I will however continue to serve a church who is looking to build into the future. This takes me back to my basic Vision Statement for Ministry.

"Extending Ministry" is my personal Vision, and this means doing some strategic planning with the local church, the District, and even with the Conference, and into the world. God is continually renewing the world around us, and creating new opportunities for us as a church, and as individuals to declare the Gospel.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sermon Notes May 24, 2009

John 15:9-17

When I began I was reminded of sacrificial love stories
-Russian Mother who fed her infant from her finger she cut to draw blood as they lay trapped beneath a pile of rubble.

I want to affirm where we have managed to love without giving so severely of ourselves.

Love One Another: Where Ojai UMC has succeeded.

And in doing so we have come to display the Spiritual Fruit of Joy. A true gift from the God who reminds us by Jesus we are to love, "So that my Joy may be in you; and your joy may be complete"

We have been called to be no longer servants but friends. Friends do things in the open, because we care. The choir is not here each week because they are here to serve us. They offer their friendship displayed through the music they sing. Others give of time and money to make things more presentable, that we may take a deeper pride in our place of worship. See the Memorial Garden benches, the garden area behind the altar, and even the new cement work in the preschool as examples of this.

We are appointed to go and bear fruit -fruit that will last: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-Control. Our care for one another, through living the 4 Rs of our Vision statement, through the Congregational Care Circles.

Good fruit bears more fruit, as well as being used by the existing community for sustenance. Thank you for the fruit you have shared here to keep us sustained. Go out, drop your seeds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the world, that all might be sustained by Him.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Committed to Love

These past few weeks we have been working our way through the love passages in 1 John. 

I have asked the congregation of Ojai UMC to put relationships and love into action through the 4 Rs of our Vision Statement: Reconciliation, Restoration, Revitalization and Renewal.

I was reading through the daily blogroll I have and noticed nakedpastor with his "Commitment to Love" blog. This was powerful. Take a look to see how it brings to life the 4 Rs. 

Commit to making one of his Commitments yourself, I will be committing outright to 3 and 4, and trying to learn to do the others better and more often.



Monday, May 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
  - Gertrude Stein


Sunday, May 24, 2009


This is going to be one hectic week. I am playing full-time single Dad.

The wife is at a Healing Intensive. I am excited for that, and for her.

The bug is already trying to assert her schedule on me, and winning. Even better, she has figured out how to turn on a couple of her toys that sing and play music to her.

Sermon prep is already in full swing for next week, with some pre-planning for July and August hopefully happening this week too.

Trying to get back on track with weight loss. I was down 45 pounds since January, and now to pull the last 15 before July 1. 

I picked up a little pedometer to try and get an idea of how much I walk, so that I can pick up the pace in the months ahead. I have got to be ready for Mount Whitney in September.

UEFA Champions League Final Wednesday. Hard to say who I am for, Man U or Barca?

Anyone got real ideas about the benefits of laminate, versus wood, versus bamboo floors for a kitchen and dining room? Cost is the obvious one, but upkeep and durability are helpful pieces of information if you are in the know.


Friday, May 22, 2009


My brain has been kinda stunted of late with blogging.

We are moving the Santa Maria, CA in the near future. 

We have bought a new house, and there are myriad repairs and plans that have needed to be made. It also means a lot of extra travel back and forth getting ready, and when that hasn't been going on, it means extra time at the church, checking in and preparing other adventures with them.

But, today is worth mentioning. 

Today is 5 years of wonderful marriage to my beautiful wife.


Monday, May 18, 2009

40 Days of Prayer

The UMC Young Clergy Prayer Project is now underway.

I want to thank John Camphouse, Allyson Talbert and Pam Montieth for their support in praying with me during these 40 days.

Here is the link, feeds and more for your participation as well.

And when you are there, say hi to Joseph Yoo, another Cal-Pac Young Clergy who is praying with us during this time.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pushing Through

I have noted on several occasions the fascination I have with Seth Godin.

I have also picked up some additional blogs with Malcolm Gladwell and some other VC folks.

I have been particularly struck on occasion by Mark Cuban's blog. This morning, in the face of the craziness that is the Denver-Dallas series in the NBA I was challenged by Mark's blog.

If you have the time to read it today, take a look at what he did for success. The biggest thing in my book was that he pushed through to the goal. This is the power of Godin's book "The Dip".

The question now is "what do I (you) need to push through?"


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lectionary Study Group

I had the distinct privilege of spending quality time with colleagues last week for our Lectionary Study Group.

This is a group of abput 6-8 people who gather every two months, cover the next two months of Lectionary Readings, and worship preparations. I have been blessed with their companionship for about 5 years now.

Each time I go, I have a chance to think out loud through the themes and questions that rise in my head preparing worship for each Sunday. I don't often realize just how valuable this experience is until I miss it. I have not been to one in about a year prior to our last gathering. It hurts. I lose concentration; the ideas for sermons do not come as easily; I miss our discussions of how to present different ideas. 

I do my best to prepare for each week by getting together notes, sermon helps, sermons I have found instructional, worship aids, and honing that into the usable bits for my secretary to publish in the bulletin, and keep my own thoughts together over the years. I have taken to sharing these with the Lectionary Group, and they in turn have added their notes to mine. 

It is quite the symbiosis at this time. 

I took the time to blog it because I think it is invaluable for pastors to have a worship preparation group to gather with, and prepare. If you are in the LA area and want a lectionary group to gather around the table, please drop a line. If you are a lay person, take an interest in finding out what your pastor does to prepare and get ideas for worship. Suggest a Lectionary Study Group to your pastor if he/she does not already have such a gathering.



Monday, May 11, 2009

Sermon Notes Mothers Day 2009

The text for Mother's Day was 1 John 4:7-21

I am reminded of the power of love in this passage because of two particular references I grew up with regarding this passage.

First the song, 1 John 4:7&8 (click on the preview all) and the second was a cross-stitch I had in my room with 1 John 4:19 "We love because he first loved us."

We also have some outstanding lyrics from our anthem this morning. "Go Into the World" arr. Walt Harrah. Go into the world, show God's love to the world.

Then I was caught by the power of the story of Anna Jarvis. She wanted to be sure we showed love to our Mothers, not just by pretty things, but in our own words, and our own actions.

We must learn to love more clearly.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Mikey For Mothers


Real Mothers don't eat quiche; they don't have time to make it.
Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably in the sandbox.
Real Mothers often have sticky floors, filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried Playdough doesn't come out of shag carpets.
Real Mothers don't want to know what the vacuum just sucked up.
Real Mothers sometimes ask, "Why me?" and get their answer when a little voice says, "Because I love you best."
Real Mothers know that a child's growth is not measured by height or years or grade. It is marked by the progression of Mama to Mommy to Mom...



4 years old: My Mommy can do anything!
8 years old: My Mom knows a lot!  A whole lot!
12 years old: My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.
14 years old: Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.
16 years old: Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned.
18 years old: That old woman? She's way out of date!
25 years old: Well, she might know a little bit about it.
35 years old: Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.
45 years old: Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?
65 years old: Wish I could talk it over with Mom


DIAPER spelled backward is REPAID. Think about it... 

Yeah, you can send this Funny to anybody you want. And, if you're REAL nice, you'll tell them where you got it!


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Quote of the Day

We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.
  - Frank Tibolt

Friday, May 08, 2009

Perfect Pastor

I have to say I am reminded of this each time we come to appointment season.

Since it is time for church pastor turnover, and I know Ojai UMC is going to be receiving a new one...some thoughts

The Perfect Pastor

The results of a computerized survey indicate the perfect minister preaches exactly fifteen minutes. He condemns sins but never upsets anyone. He works from 8:00 AM until midnight and is also a janitor. He makes $50 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books, drives a good car, and gives about $50 weekly to the poor. He is 28 years old and has preached 30 years. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all of his time with senior citizens. The perfect minister smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work. He makes 15 calls daily on congregation families, shut-ins and the hospitalized, and is always in his office when needed.

If your minister does not measure up, simply send this letter to six other churches that are tired of their minister, too. Then bundle up your minister and send him to the church on the top of the list. In one week, you will receive 1,643 ministers and one of them will be perfect. Have faith in this procedure.

One chuch broke the chain and got its old minister back in less than three don't break the chain.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

National Day of Prayer

Today is National Day of Prayer

I have been very pleased to be praying with my wife and the Bug every morning and evening for almost a month now. We are trying to implement good spiritual practices, and disciplines into our life.

With National Day of Prayer today I am reminded of the opportunity to be in prayer for a number of things. 

We have started preparing for the 40 Days of Prayer Campaign with the UMC Young Clergy.
I am praying today for those who are sick and struggling with illness.
I am praying for my denominational leaders, District Superintendent, Bishop and General Board Secretaries and officers.
I am praying for our national leaders.

Here is a list of all the members in office with President Obama, so that you may pray for them as you are led. 

Thank You again for being faithful and for being positive and keeping the focus on praying for our great country, the United States, and all those in leadership. 

President Barack Obama 
Vice President Joe Biden 
First Lady Michelle Obama 
Dr. Jill Biden 


Chief of Staff 
Rahm Emanuel 

Deputy Chiefs of Staff 
Jim Messina 
Mona Sutphen 

Senior Advisors 
David Axelrod 
Valerie Jarrett 
Pete Rouse 

to Visit the Executive Office of the President section to learn about more of the President's staff: 

The tradition of the Cabinet dates back to the beginnings of the Presidency itself. Established in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, the Cabinet's role is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of each member's respective office. 

The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments — the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General. 

In order of succession to the Presidency: 

Vice President of the United States 
Joseph R. Biden 

Department of State 
Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton 

Department of the Treasury 
Secretary Timothy F. Geithner 

Department of Defense 
Secretary Robert M. Gates 

Department of Justice 
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. 

Department of the Interior 
Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar 

Department of Agriculture 
Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack 

Department of Commerce 

Department of Labor 
Secretary-designate: Hilda L. Solis 

Department of Health and Human Services 

Department of Housing and Urban Development 
Secretary Shaun L.S. Donovan 

Department of Transportation 
Secretary Raymond L. LaHood 

Department of Energy 
Secretary Steven Chu 

Department of Education 
Secretary Arne Duncan 

Department of Veterans Affairs 
Secretary Eric K. Shinseki 

Department of Homeland Security 
Secretary Janet A. Napolitano 

The following positions have the status of Cabinet-rank: 

Council of Economic Advisers 
Chair Christina Romer 

Environmental Protection Agency 
Administrator Lisa P. Jackson 

Office of Management & Budget 
Director Peter R. Orszag 

United States Trade Representative 
Ambassador-designate: Ronald Kirk 

United States Ambassador to the United Nations 
Ambassador Susan Rice 

White House Chief of Staff 
Rahm I. Emanuel 

link to Executive office of the President: 

I am also praying this prayer that has been on my heart of late.

This prayer is often called "St. Patrick's Breastplate"because of those parts of it which seek God's protection.  It is also sometimes called "The Deer's Cry" or "The Lorica".

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through the confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the Judgment Day.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of demons,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009


So what does one do when faced with mounting evidence that the work done is not that factual...or helpful? The newspapers just print a retraction. I will go forward to say that my former post on the Hokey Pokey may not be all that accurate. I did try to have fun, and I shared what I had learned...albeit wrong. Guess it goes to show it helps to never stop learning...and may explain why the same sermon topic or title may never be the same again, even when faced with the same scripture or topic.

I would like to share with you Taylor Burton-Edwards' helpful thoughts...


I offer these words to you directly. I hope you may receive them in a spirit of brotherly concern for you, for your ministry, and for our church and its relationships with other churches.

Are you aware that your blog post on this from last October (which I happened to find this morning) could be interpreted by Roman Catholics and many other Christians as deeply offensive?

Legend of the Hokey Pokey

You might want to consult the wikipedia article on this song. It notes (with solid citations) the origins of the interpretation you offer as intentionally anti-Catholic, and it notes cited references from several other scholars and from the grandchildren of the author of the song both refuting this interpretation and offering the ones they know from the time the song was written.

You can read it here:

I'm not sure of your source, but whatever it was also did not understand how the Roman Mass worked-- then or now. My information here is not from wikipedia, but from many years of scholarly work on Christian ritual.

"Hoc est corpus enim" is nowhere near the beginning of the Latin mass. The priests would have been at the altar, facing it, long before they got to these words. It is part of the words of institution, which appear, as in our current UM ritual, closer to the middle of the Eucharistic prayer-- and actually, then (both when the song was written and in the pre-Vatican II liturgies) a bit closer to the end of it.

The first act of bowing at the Lord's Table is during the first part of the Sanctus-- which appears closer to the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, and well before the Words of Institution. Bowing after the consecration did also happen in some traditions (not all), but that bow would have been no more notable as the bow at the Sanctus. The bow at the Sanctus, by the way, may have been joined by all the people, not just the priest. So the order of these ritual actions appears a bit odd relative to the song.

To my knowledge there have never been any rubrics calling for the use of the left hand to bless anything. The right hand blesses the wine, as it does the bread, as it does the people. This is found in every rubric book, every liturgical text, and every example of church art including such acts of blessing (the earliest dating from the sixth century in Syria) that I know of.

The notion of "shaking the hand over the elements" would be considered blasphemous to Roman Catholics and other who follow the classic rubrics at the words of institution.  The instruction in the rubrics here was to make the sign of the cross over the bread and break it (again, pre-Vatican II-- in many post-Vat II liturgies, the fraction follows the epiclesis, which comes later, as in our ritual) and then over the wine, and then to touch each cup or flagon after the appropriate words. This is not an act of incoherent shaking-- but an act of clear signification of the importance of this moment-- Christ entering the bread and wine and blessing it.

I think I understand that you were trying to have some fun with this-- and to help make the actions of the communion ritual more memorable in a way. However, given these factors, your article may, for some,  be offering more offense than blessing.

Peace in Christ,

Taylor Burton-Edwards


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

40 Day Prayer Campaign

The time is rapidly approaching for May 18th and the beginning of the UMC Young Clergy 40 Day Prayer Campaign.

I am excited to be participating in this adventure, and I am trying to get my prayer together so that we can get the .pdf book together.

I have heard that the Nebraska Annual Conference is planning to use it during their Annual Conference for prayers.

Check out Explore the site, and click on "Prayer" to learn more about the campaign.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Pastoral Care

Just got word that Bill Easum spoke to something that is already shaping up in our Congregation at Ojai UMC.

Take a look at Congregational Care Circles. Then look at this article by Easum to see the comparisons and some of the conclusions that can be drawn.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Good Sheep

This is a re-run. A little trite I know. But the sermon notes for May 3, 2009 are from the following:

The Good Sheep

The Good Sheep Part II


Saturday, May 02, 2009

Thought Provoking Links

Some links of interest this week.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Pastor's Corner May 2009

Dear Ojai UMC Family,

Thank you so much for the ministry we have done together this year. When I had my initial interview with the Staff Parish Relations Committee we established that this would be a one-year appointment. We had the reminder that all United Methodist appointments are for one year at a time. There were several factors involved in that, and we acknowledged that we would talk more firmly about that in the Spring. 

Spring has come, and I am ready to honor the commitment I made with the District and with Ojai UMC, through the Staff Parish Relations Committee. I will be here for the remainder of the appointment year, and July 1, 2009 I will be moving to Santa Maria to start as the pastor of Santa Maria: St. Andrew United Methodist Church, in Orcutt. 

Anna and I have been so blessed in our time with you all. We have had the opportunity to heal from hurts and wounds in our lives through the gracious love and hospitality of this congregation. There are no amount of words to express our gratitude for your care in this way. Additionally, we have watched how you have loved and adored Sophia during this year. As parents we could ask for nothing better than to watch our child grow in love, and likewise the congregation in this relationship.

I will treasure the relationships I have made here at Ojai UMC. You have been amazing as you have discovered with me, the spiritual gifts of individuals in the congregation, as well as the congregational spiritual gifts. We have uncovered the deep calling of the Holy Spirit for the Vision of Ojai UMC. "We are to be showing the love of God to the community of the Ojai Valley through the 4 Rs: Reconciliation, Renewal, Revitalization and Restoration".

I loved getting to know you through personal conversations, worshiping together, dinners and events. There is great life here at Ojai UMC, and my prayer remains that the community would be invited to participate. Going into the world as Jesus commands us in Matthew 28 reminds us that the life of a Christian is more than being hospitable to those who come into your midst. We must go out and seek out the tired, poor, hurting and unloved. 

And, as I have told several people already, "I am not done here." There is still work to do, and preparations to be made. We have plans and hopes to accomplish yet in these next two months. I am excited for the ministries that are beginning to take flight, like the Congregational Care Circles, the partnership with Raising Micah for the Fall, the ideas and dreams that are coming out of the Boot Camp experience, as well as the ongoing work of the church with HELP of Ojai, the Boy Scouts, and especially, Noah's Ark Preschool.

David Camphouse