Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent Devotional

Unseen Mover

2 Corinthians 4:18
18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

My first memories of Christian Educators Fellowship are from behind the scenes. CEFers were unseen wonders to my mind.
I had the pleasure of working on worship materials for CEF 1996. I was amazed to hear of all the various working groups within the United Methodist Church, and that a group would be dedicated to Christian Education and gathering together to form ideas, hopes, dust off the playbook, and develop a sense of community around worship.
I then heard more tales of the CEF 1998 Conference when my bosses (2 out of three of those who oversaw my work as an Assistant Youth Director in a large metropolitan church) returned from their time of celebration with this fine group of dedicated professionals (yes, I consider the volunteers to be professionals too – your payments just don’t look the same). I think I may have even received a few “give-aways” from their trove of gifts that CEF shares with so many of its participants.
What I began to see was not so much with my eyes, but with my soul, for I began to see the effects that CEF has on its participants, both as a contributor to the behind-the-scenes aspects, and the participatory aspects. The changes in my co-workers was one that was renewed and refreshed, excited by the energy of a group of persons seeking to teach the Gospel to the world around us.
Realizing this allowed me to reconnect with the “unseen” God who moves and transforms the lives of persons around us. We don’t necessarily see the group itself, but the effects of the group upon the lives of those around us, just as with God. We may not see God, or hear God, but we see and hear what God has done for those around us, inviting us into a new future with Christ.
I am excited to participate once again as one of those who may not get to see the whole event from the eyes of a participant, but as one who gets to see the effect of the event upon the lives of those who are fully involved. Thank you for letting me be a part in such an amazing organization.

Dearest Lord God, I do not always get to see with my own eyes, but I pray that you will show me through the eyes and stories of others. Your story is lasting and eternal, and will always be spoken through your people, excite me to be one of your people, who lives and acts and educates for the next generation that your Word may live on through eternity. Amen.

I did not see it for myself, but by trusting in the experience of another I may see more clearly.

Friday, November 26, 2010

New York Homelessness and Christian Response

There is nothing so unsettling to my sense of Christian responsibility and response as the homeless of New York. The homeless in other places stir it as well, but New York seems to hold a special place for my Christian sense of right and wrong.

I recall that we are called to serve by feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, casting out the demons, clothing the naked and healing the sick, as well as “teaching them to obey all that I have taught you.”

Even taking seriously the thought posed to me that not all of us are so gifted by the Holy Spirit as to be able to do the healing of sick, or especially the casting out of demons, then somewhere I have also failed to do my job as a pastor, who is charged with equipping the saints for the ministry of Christ in the world. One would assume that even if I did not have the calling to do such ministry, that some do, as there is just too much issue without the help of Christians taking their jobs seriously.

Therefore I can only assume that too many Christians are abdicating their responsibility, which in turn leads me back to introspection and the look at myself in examination of my spiritual gifts and whether or not I am, in fact, being called to such a ministry of casting out demons and healing the sick, and how I might go about building up those spiritual muscles working with the Holy Spirit.

How do you understand the Christian Response, in light of Christ's commandments, and the realities of our world today? Can you help me from feeling a deep sense of despair and failure, as a pastor and as a Christian?

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Book Signing 1 week later

Book signing redux
Thanks to all of our authors who showed up for the local author book signing November 18th, in our fellowship hall.
-Whitney Hankinson
-Katie Cushman
-Daniel Wilcox
-Evelyn and David Dabritz
-BJ Scott
-Jennifer Best
-Rudy Federman
-John McReynolds
These authors were greeted by some nice finger foods, and wonderful people to listen to their brief personal story and introduction of their book(s). All of the authors were willing to sign their books, and tell a little more in one-on-one conversations at the author tables.
We have interest in doing another one, and are in conversations with some big name authors to help headline our next event.
We have copies of the books from the authors who were present in our church library, and contact information if you would like a copy for yourself.
Thanks for supporting your local authors and the joy of reading.

Letter to the authors who attended, listed above.

Dear _______,

Thank you for celebrating the written works of several of our local authors in the Santa Maria Valley and surrounding areas. St. Andrew United Methodist Church was pleased to have gathered such a wonderful array of authors, and story materials.

In the days that followed, I heard from many who attended who wondered how we could manage to do this again, and be sure to get more people involved. As you heard I hope that we can do this again, and I had a few ideas about how to get more folks to come out and hear from our authors in the area.

I hope that you will be able to join us at that time. I was excited to see that several of the authors with us had new works coming out within the next few months, and I hope we can profile some of the new works on hand, as well as some more authors.

In order to help us grow this event, I hope you will share with your friends, the next time we gather. Additionally, in an effort to attract more authors, I would welcome any new names of people in the area. I have heard of two authors from as far away as Santa Barbara, including Thom Steinbeck, and Sue Grafton.

May you enjoy your writing, and thank you so much for coming to share with all of us. I had a great time, and I know those who attended did as well.

David Camphouse

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Monday, November 01, 2010

More from Mikey

I don't drink the stuff, but in case you do...Mikey


~ Starbucks is accepting bids for a franchise located in your house.

~ The National Bank of Columbia has offered you a Platinum Visa card with zero percent interest.

~ Folgers has offered you a "distributors" franchise for your block.

~ Your co-workers are getting rich buying stock in companies that manufacture foam coffee cups.

~ You just went to the store and bought ten cases of non-diary creamer "to get you through the week."

~ Those strange footprints in the ceiling of your office.

~ You haven't slept in a week and no one notices, not even you.

~ You find yourself sneezing Folger's Crystals.

~ Juan Valdez starts sending you hand-written Thank You notes.

~ You eat garlic to overcome coffee breath.

~ Your dentist upgrades to a belt sander.

~ Alvin & the Chipmunks start to sound like Barry White.

~ Auctioneers begin to make sense.

And the number 1 Sign You've Had Too Much Coffee...

~ YYoouu ssttaarrtt ttyyppiinng lliikkee tthhiiss..