Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Fun

Today in Church History: 1775: The US Army chaplaincy was founded, making it the second oldest branch of that service, after the infantry.

Blue M&M's: more reasons they're wonderful

How to be married with children

The Emperor's new phone


Holy God,
Thank you for the rain. The thirsty earth has been crying out for water, and it has finally come, teeming down and leaving puddles as reminders or your sustaining love.
Don't let me forget about those who curse the rain because they have no roof over their heads. Remind me of those who have no place to go, no shelter from the storms. Don't let me become careless and assume that the world lives as I do.
Your grace pours down like rain. You sustain us through the waters of baptism, through Jesus Christ, the water of life. Your love is greater than we know, deeper than we can imagine, and we live in wonder of it all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Fun

Women are becoming more beautiful while men, well, we're not.

Is being a shop-aholic a mental illness?

Down from the trees

Please don't text and drive.

Two boys were walking home from Sunday school after hear ing a strong pre aching on the devil. One said to the other, "What do you think about all this Satan stuff?"

The other boy replied, "Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your Dad."

Tuesday Morning

Thank you, God.
My life is filled with precious moments, big and small. I watch in awe as colorful spiders creep across my front porch. I recline with gratitude at the end of a long day, curling up with a good book in a warm house. I spend time with friends and neighbors, loved ones, and they enrich my life. I have the chance to pray, to study, to grow and learn. Thank you, God. You have poured out blessings upon my head, and I hope that my life is filled with praise offerings to you. All I do is in response to your grace, to your love, to your unending mercy. Thank you, God, for love that knows no end, for blessings that pour down like rain, and for Jesus Christ, my Savior.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Gran Torino

You know those movies that you're excited about seeing, that everyone has told you almost everything about, and yet you're still not exactly sure what to make of them? This was one of those movies for me. I had heard all sorts of things about Gran Torino, but I still didn't know what to expect.

The first thing everyone had warned me about was the language, and they were spot on. This movie is filled with racial slurs I had never heard before.

Beyond that, all I knew was that it was good. And it truly was. It's about a crusty old widower who has his worldviews changed by relationships. Asians move in next door, and while he's initially very skeptical and rude, as he builds relationships with them his view is changed and the goodness in him begins to leak out. He is kind and generous to them, doing everything he can to help his friends grow.

Clint Eastwood does a great job playing a character who is tough on the outside and yet filled with goodness, even if he plays it down. Everyone from the priest to the neighbors changes him simply because they spend time with him. They don't give up and let his gruffness scare them off.

There's a lesson for us in this movie. Many of them, I suppose, but the biggest one is the power of relationships. If we open our hearts to individuals, rather than writing them off because of what we think we know about larger groups, worlds collide and we are never the same.

Monday Morning

Lord and God,
'Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,' I read. I am not sure what it means to fear you. I stand in awe of your majesty and might. I wonder at your power and creativity. But I do not know how to fear you. Perhaps I am not humble enough. Perhaps my faith is lacking some critical element, but I love you so deeply I want to be held by you every day of my life. I want you to dwell within me and before me, so that my steps may be covered by you. Open my mind and my heart, so that my service might be directed to you. Convert my life, so that I might worship you. May all I do be an humble offering to you, so that I might find my way to the beginning of wisdom.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Morning

Dear Lord,
I have risen and began to prepare for this day. I do not know what it holds, but I know that you are there. I do not know where my feet will lead me, but I know that you are waiting. Your divine curiosity wonders if I will choose you today, even while you know all. Will I be faithful? Will I love you by loving others? Will I open my eyes so that I see the world as you see? Am I willing to be surprised by your grace? Am I humble enough to accept all that I do not know? You are Lord of Heaven and Earth, all-knowing and all-powerful. I love you, Lord, and pray that I may choose wisely, with courage and love, on this day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Scots Confession


The Incarnation of Christ Jesus

When the fullness of time came God sent his Son, his eternal wisdom,
the substance of his own glory, into this world, who took the nature
of humanity from the substance of a woman, a virgin, by means of
the Holy Ghost. And so was born the “just seed of David,” the “Angel
of the great counsel of God,” the very Messiah promised, whom we
confess and acknowledge to be Emmanuel, true God and true man, two
perfect natures united and joined in one person. So by our Confession
we condemn the damnable and pestilent heresies of Arius, Marcion,
Eutyches, Nestorius, and such others as did either deny the eternity of
his Godhead, or the truth of his humanity, or confounded them, or else
divided them.


John 1:14 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (The Message)

'The very Messiah promised.' I may never fully understand what it means for God to become human. I may not be able to grasp, in my limited mind, what it might mean for two natures to be united in one person. I understand the concept, but the reality is so far beyond my human mind that it seems as though I may as well be trying to re-create the earth with my own feeble words.

But I understand promises, and I know what it means to break a promise, and how good it is when promises are kept. Jesus Christ was the Messiah that had been promised, and when he was born of Mary, the angels and shepherds alike rejoiced at what God had done. Thanks be to God for grace and mercy, for love beyond knowledge and love in the neighborhood.

The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood--I love this translation because it makes the Word real, next door, walking beside us and loving us in the midst of our messy humanity. We don't have it all figured out, but have a Savior, promised and true, who has love beyond measure.

Thanks be to God.

Today in Church History:

Pioneer American Methodist bishop Francis Asbury wrote in his journal: 'I findit of more consequence to a preacher to know his Bible well, than all the languages or booksin the world -- for he is not to preach these, but the Word of God.'

Today in history:

1914: Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia following the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Serb assassin; the dispute led to World War I


What Muslims detest about the West

Storytelling as a gift from God

Puppies behind bars

Scared for sharks

Rising from the ashes

Thursday Morning

Holy God,
Who are we to stand before you? We are sinful and self-centered, broken and conceited. We have failed to consider the ramifications of our actions and instead focused solely on ourselves. We have forgotten your love and grace.
Forgive us, O God. Renew us with your Spirit. Wash us clean in the waters so that our lives might be a testament to you, so that our actions might be an offering to you, so that our thoughts might strengthen us for you. You are the focus of our lives, Dear Lord, and we pray that we might live a life pleasing to you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Fun

Today in Church history: July 22, 1620--A small congregation of English Seperatists, led by John Robinson, began their emigration to the New World. Today, this historic group of religious refugees are better known as Pilgrims.

Movie Review: The Hurt Locker, a movie about Iraq, roadside bombs, and those brave enough to live in that world.

The latest threat to public radio

The songs used to torture others by the government

The real reason for Oprah's popularity--she can explain the male brain

Good things do come from facebook!

I think this is brilliant

Camel Milk, with all its magical powers, has arrived

Wednesday Morning

As the sun rises in the east, may I rise to face your holy presence. May I traverse this day with a knowledge of your deep and abiding love. May the beauty of the angels' praise place a word of gratitude on my lips so that I might pass along a word of thanks. May the wonder of a blossoming flower remind me of your beauty and creativity. May the miracle of falling rain conjure up images of holy baptism, a visible sign of your invisible grace, your saving hand that holds me and leads me home.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Let's face it - you can't Torquemada anything!

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

Last week I read The Grand Inquisitor's Manual. It was nothing short of fascinating. I didn't want to put it down; I had started it simply as a distraction, but finally I gave up any pretense of reading anything else and simply devoured this book. I was astonished by what I read.

The Grand Inquisitor's Manual starts in the 12th century and carries forward to present day, detailing the horrors that have been done in the name of God by the church. (In this case it was the Roman Catholic church that was the author of many horrors, but I'm not going to pretend that other denominations have not had their tragic moments as well) The Inquisition swept through France, Spain, Italy and most of Europe, spreading even to the New World. Mostly the Inquisition was based upon a desire to eliminate heresy, but the corruption of the church caused many 'heretics' to be convicted simply because those in power wanted to seize their lands. Dead 'heretics' were dug up and convicted simply so those in power could seize what others had inherited!

It was a truly shameful time, but this well-written and easy to read book does an excellent job in detailing how it began and the methods used throughout the Inquisition. It even details how many of those same methods carried over into the Holocaust and even into our war on terror.

Tuesday Links

The good world outside!

More than enough grace!

The Blob has returned

The distraction of cell phones and Congress' unwillingness to pursue it

Chaos thrives in your brain

Placebo effect

Work-Life balance?

The U.S. is veering left

Troubling news for the PC(USA)

Tuesday Morning

Gracious God--
Your love extends from one horizon to the next. As the rays of the sun just peak their heads over the horizon and begin to bathe the world in beautiful light, you are already here. You have held me in your precious hand all the night long, granting me rest so that I may be prepared for the day. Go with me, Lord, so that my words and actions might glorify you and be a holy offering. May your grace strengthen and sustain me on this day so that I might live as your holy servant. May all that I do show my love for you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bible v. cell phone

Cell phone vs. Bible

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several time a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think, where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

The snake

I needed this earlier today!

Monday Fun

Yep, I cried. I didn't expect to, but I spent the last thirty minutes of this movie crying. It's just a great movie. The plot is shaped around a man from New Zealand, Herbert Munro, who longs to test his 1920's motorcycle on the salt flats at Bonneville. His journey there, and the souls he encounters, touch every part of the heart. The World's Fastest Indian is a movie I would highly recommend.

Monday Links

Everyone else in the world, it seems, is now on Twitter. If you would like to subscribe to Living Waters for the World "tweets" - go to

Selling toys
to help the family

Yo-yos and the recession

The food critics go after hamburgers and donuts.

Monday Morning

Holy Lord,
We live in the palm of your hand. You watch over us, sustain us and love us beyond compare. We are safe in you.
Lord, my life seems to be spent trying to wander from the protection of your love. I spend my hours and my days forgetting your presence and ignoring your love. I am broken, Lord, and don't look to you for the strength to rise. Forgive me, Lord, and help me to claim and live out my identity as your beloved child. May my efforts be spent proclaiming the Good News of your eternal kingdom.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Great way to end the evening

Psalm 17:8

"Guard me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,"

Thank you, O Lord, for all your grace, for all your beauty, wonder and love. Thank you.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Early E-New

I’m headed up to Michigan for a few weeks to learn how to improve my preaching. Will pick up the posting then.


Wind Power

The Music Instinct from PBS

Keeping Marriage Healthy

Home Health Tips for kids

How disco saves lives (and a video demonstration that might help you save a life)

Cloudland Canyon Connector Trail Survey

Are you a champion handwasher?

Text for Sunday, July 5

Acts 10:24-43

24The following day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25On Peter’s arrival Cornelius met him, and falling at his feet, worshiped him. 26But Peter made him get up, saying, “Stand up; I am only a mortal.” 27And as he talked with him, he went in and found that many had assembled; 28and he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. 29So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?” 30Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this very hour, at three o’clock, I was praying in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling clothes stood before me. 31He said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon, who is called Peter; he is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33Therefore I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say.”

34Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Thursday Morning

Redeeming God,
The people wandered the wilderness for years, waiting for peace, for the promised land. Yet the whole time you were with them. What I would give for a pillar of smoke leading me forward by day, and fire by night! I feel as though I spend so much time wading through the much, trying to discern where you are calling me, which direction is faithful. Guide me, O Lord, in your ways, in your truths, so that my decisions may honor you, may proclaim my faith in you. I am in constant turmoil about what is right and what is wrong. Lead me on your path, so that my feet may fall on holy ground and my life might proclaim your glory.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To an Angel who is New

In this tragic masterpiece, Arno Bohlmeijer has composed a diary of his time in hospital after a tragic car accident that has left him immobilized, his wife brain-dead and his two daughters injured. To an Angel who is New left me sitting in the car dealer, waiting for my new tires, weeping.

Don't read this book unless you are ready to explore the depths of human sorrow and the struggle of a man fighting his own body while knowing his wife is fighting the same battle in a losing effort. The entire community surrounds them with love, and Bohlmeijer battles through, struggling to know how best to cope while helping his daughters heal. There isn't an easy page of this book, but there is such depth that I almost want to apologize for treading on sacred ground. The beautiful thing is that Bohlmeijer invites us in, to share in his pain and his journey, and my life is the richer for being a part of it.

Wednesday Fun

Love Chattanooga

Feel like fasting?

Green Walls: coming to your city?

Walkman v. iPod

A new map from NASA

Is spite right?

The power of women

The Lonely Shoe Lying on the Road
by Muriel Spark

One sad shoe that someone has probably flung
out of a car or truck. Why only one?

This happens on an average one year
in four. But always throughout my
life, my travels, I see it like
a memorandum. Something I have
forgotten to remember,

that there are always
mysteries in life. That shoes
do not always go in pairs, any more
than we do. That one fits;
the other, not. That children can
thoughtlessly and in a merry fashion
chuck out someone's shoe, split up
someone's life.

But usually that shoe that I
see is a man's, old, worn, the sole
parted from the upper.
Then why did the owner keep the other,
keep it to himself? Was he
afraid (as I so often am with
inanimate objects) to hurt it's feelings?
That one shoe in the road invokes
my awe and my sad pity.

Wednesday Morning

Holy God,
I can never understand you majesty. You move in ways unknown to me. You speak in a foreign language, love in ways I cannot understand. Your grace is deeper than my thoughts can travel.
And yet I know you because you desire to be known. Not because I have sought you out, but because you reached out to me. You descended from heaven's throne and walked among us, talked to us, so that we might know, so that we might understand. You pulled back a corner of your deity so that your love might be spoken in ways we can see, can touch, can understand. You are so much greater than I can imagine, and yet I feel as though you hold me, you love me, even when I fail. Thank you, my Lord, for your endless and gracious love.