Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Mad Dash ...

There are a few things I have been meaning to share, but time has been short. I'm anxious for a day to unwind. A day without funerals. A day without worship services. A day without hospital visits. A day without the push to get the next sermon or service ready. A day without calling someone to ask if they will read scripture, hold a door, or lead a ministry.

Today will not be that day! I don't mean to sound whiny, by the way. The nature of ministry is that you don't get to choose when people get sick, or die, or give birth--or when Sunday will roll around. It's all part of the job.

This morning, though, well...that's a different story. I have a little time before my 8am appointment and I'm going to include pictures I've wanted to share for a few weeks.

First ... there's this Ford Festiva I saw in the parking lot of the Med Center. You many not be able to read the bumper sticker, but is says:

"REALITY: It's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there."

Dude, if you're stuck in a Ford Festiva, you're living in reality. Reality is slapping you in the face every morning. You're stepping in it when you leave the house every day. [note to reader: if you are a proud owner of a Festiva, then my apologies to you--not for writing the above statement, but for being stuck in the cheapest car Ford makes. I've owned Fords. I feel your pain.]

I just wish I could have been at the meeting in which the word "Festiva" was invented. I would have said, "Hey, I got an idea, why don't we call it the Clunkkerra?"

Class Is Going Well

I'm very pleased with how the Christ and Culture class I'm teaching is going. This is the first time I have taught a blended cohort. We have the collision of education and business majors and the combination seems to be working well (usually I just have business majors).

There are just two more 4 hour sessions before the end of the semester. The larger class (23 students), and their lessened familiarity with one another, means class goes more smoothly.

Also, over the past few weeks I've enjoyed the arrival of Spring, these pictures are over a week old now, however ... 8 am has arrived.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tomorrow's Offering

I hope all is well where you are.

At Grandview we lost a saint today. Cookie was tired and ready to die. How many times did we kneel next to her bed and pray that God would cut short her ordeal? I wouldn't be able to guess. Please pray for her family.

Tomorrow's sermon is the last in the series on what being in a relationship with Jesus does to a person. We will focus on the post-Resurrection disciples.


Prayers of the Church for Grandview
30 March 2008

God of Life on this earth; gracious, loving, and joyful are you! When your word became flesh and bone and settled with humanity, passing freely among us as a carpenter, a teacher, and a friend, we recognized greatness, but not God. How blind we can be! Your glory blushed before our eyes and we marveled at the sight, without fully seeing the light. Thank you for being thrilled to receive the affection we give to you today.

God of Death on the Cross; suffering, patient, and humble are you! When you watched your Son suffering at the hands of people you created, your commitment to us never crumbled, even as you turned your face away from cruelty of crucifixion. Thank you for your steadfast love that is greater than your gut reaction.

God of Resurrection; victorious, pleased, and blissful are you! The delight you took in seeing Mary’s response to your Son’s resurrection must still bring a smile to your face. With amusement you must have watched the collision of reality and the impossible in the eyes of your disciples. Thank you for staving the hand of judgment, healing its wounds and transforming it for our sake.

You are the great and gracious God. There is none besides you. It is right for us to offer you all glory and praise and honor.

Forgive us our sins, as you have promised. Forgive us for growing comfortable with our list of sin, for failing to consider that our sin might be keeping us from offering you our best. Forgive us for being awkward and thick when it comes to learning what it means to respond to the gift of resurrection that you made visible to the women and men who have faithfully handed their accounts of your victory to us.

Bless our sick with healing. Visit the depressed with your great joy. Wrap your protective wings around those in harm’s way. Give wisdom to those who are seeking your direction. Free the oppressed from their addictions. Breathe your Spirit into each of us so that we might serve you, being bold and unafraid in service of your kingdom. Come swiftly and sweetly to those whose time to die has arrived. Send your Spirit of comfort to those who are grieving, especially to the family and friends of Cookie. Lord, you know how often she prayed that you would bring her home. Thank you for answering that prayer, even if it felt to her like you were late in arriving.

Bless the missionaries we support. Bless the agencies of the gospel that we support. Bless our national leaders and world leaders; guide their feet in the paths of peace. Bless this nation. Bless our enemies. Bring us the peace that only you can bring; that peace that is inaccessible to through the world.

We pray together as your Risen Son has taught us:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dreaming with Dr. Joe: The River

This video marks the 8th in the Dreaming with Dr. Joe series. My special guest star in this video is Cora. She wasn't in school so we "re-wrote" the script to include her. Just two more videos to go! Matt was able to shoot green screen in the church basement. I was very impressed.

Last night's Two 4 Two was enjoyable. We had visitors from First United Methodist Church of Morristown, Tennessee (led by my Beeson brother, Scott Layer). It was great to see Scott and it was nice to see the program through the eyes of visitors. Also, instead of going to the Bible Study (sorry, Joe, I'll be back next week) I got the chance to observe aspects of Two 4 Two that I don't normally get to see.

While watching them in action, I was reminded of how blessed Grandview is to have Dana and Ryan on staff (I already knew that, but it was good to see them in action).


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tonight's Slideshow

Tonight's slideshow has some of "extra" shots in it. I decided it might be nice to include a few Easter morning slides. Also ... I accidentally included some pictures from the Doan farm. I could change it before tonight, but I suspect my time will be better used getting some other stuff done.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Celebration

The Maundy Thursday service ended in darkness......but Easter morning was bright and joyful.Isaac and Maggie lead worship in the first service.Dr. Fred presides at communion during second services.
We ended the morning with the traditional singing of the Hallelujah Chorus.

That brought some of the first service people in from their Sunday School classes to observe from the back.
Afterword, we went to the Doan farm for Easter dinner. The girls had a great time.So did little Olivia F. (she kept us all laughing).Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tomorrow's Offering

Peace to you.

Here is tomorrow's prayer:

Prayers of the Church for Grandview

23 March 2008: Easter Sunday

Eternity is your home, O God, but it has not been ours. Thank you for the invitation that you made plain to us when your Word became flesh, pitched your tent among us, suffered the cruel indignity of the cross, and then rose again. Thank you for the shining example of your hunger for a universe restored to the glory of the seventh day.

Restore the glory, O Lord, of flesh as you intended it to be; unspoiled by corruption and decay.

Restore the glory, O Lord, of the Church as you intended it; a sign of your love and power to heal.

Restore the glory, O Lord, of the earth as you created it; unscathed by poor stewardship.

We join the chorus of the chirping birds of spring, the flaring of foliage and fauna, and the lengthening light of day as we proclaim your greatness. Hosanna and hallelujah in the highest! You have done for us what we were powerless to do. You have overcome every barrier that was beyond our influence and left us with only our will, our own decisions to love you or not, to want you or to not want you.

With the help of those around us this morning we proclaim that we love you because you have created us, loved us, and saved us. With one voice we praise you.

In the midst of our praise, though, we know that we still have much to learn, much to believe, much to give over to you. Thank you for acting on our behalf before we are worthy, before we understand, before we come to faith. Thank you for going to cross while humanity is yet lost in its foolishness, rebellion, and sinfulness.

Forgive us, O Lord. We cannot forgive ourselves. We need your Holy Spirit powerfully active and breathing among us, within us, and through us.

May your church around the whole world celebrate your victory today, and every day, by the manner in which we love each other and by the manner in which we love the world around us. You have called us to be your co-workers in this world. To this we pledge ourselves.

Bless the sick, the dying, those in harm’s way, the depressed, the addicted, the poor, the oppressed, the innocents who suffer, and th weak. And, by your Spirit, empower your people to be your agent of healing. Empower the missionaries we support. Empower the agencies of the gospel we support. Empower us to be a part of your will made into living, breathing, flesh each and every day.

We pray as your risen Son has taught us:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Two 4 Two, Week 7

Thanks to youth minister extraordinaire, Ryan, for being this week's guest in Dreaming with Dr. Joe. If you don't like this one, blame the writer's strike.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Image Management

I chickened out yesterday (My apologies to chickens, I am stereotyping you unfairly, some of you might be very, very brave ... how would I know?). I posted an entry that I intended to be funny (In fact, it was funny). Humor is a difficult beast, however.

When I tested the humor on a few people at church there were laughs, but they were awfully nervous laughs (My apologies to you who are nervous, please don't take offense. Some of my best friends are nervous). Broad political discussions ensued (Writer's Note: the word "broad" in this context means widely diffused, of great breadth and has absolutely no gender implications). The discussions were meant to defend the presidential candidate that was the foil in my attempt at humor.

It was just political humor. Political humor has a long-standing and proudless history in this nation. Some of our best jokes are based on presidents, ex-presidents, and their failed strategeries. This year, however, there is a new element of danger in political humor. In the past all major presidential candidates were white, male, Christians (My apologies to white, male, Christians. I realize that the state of the nation today is not entirely your fault, though you really should take your share of the credit. Please know that some of my best moments in life have been as a white, male, Christian). We've been able to make as much fun of these candidates as we wanted, without fear of being labeled anything other than clever or stupid.

Some of you may be wondering what the big deal is. If everybody gets away with political humor, shouldn't Aaron get away with it? The problem is that I'm a minister and, for better or worse, ministry requires an amazing amount of image management.

It's hard to be heard from the pulpit if someone thinks you're not on their side politically--especially if we mix undertones of racism or sexism into the stew. So, when I make jokes I feel the need to be full of disclaimers that bankers and construction workers don't have to make.

Let me state, once and for all, my political position on the upcoming election. Let it never be said that Aaron Wymer is more concerned about being politically neutral than about standing strong in the political arena. Image be ... well ... danged. I'll just state my position and let the CHIPS fall where they may (My apologies to fans of Eric Estrada. I know that he carried that show. Ponch made John look like window dressing).

Obama? Clinton? McCain? The candidates with no shot?

Drum roll, please:

I love Jesus (and in my best moments I live up to that statement).

Sorry. I don't want to lose my tax contempt status.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dreaming with Dr. Joe: Riddles

Here is last week's episode of "Dreaming with Dr. Joe". It turned out to be a little more bizarre than we had planned. Such is life in the fast paced world that is the collision of ministry and video production!

This Week's Two 4 Two Slideshow

I'm posting this early because, a) it's finished and, b) I'm pressed for time. Will blog more soon!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tomorrow's Offering

Greetings on this Saturday morning!

Tomorrow's sermon is on the relationship between Jesus and Judas. I have never preached on this topic before (never even crossed my mind to do it). I'm glad I decided to do it, though. Preparation for the sermon was powerful for me this week. I don't know if that power will transfer to the sermon. We'll leave that question to the Spirit.

The week has busy and fruitful.

Here is tomorrow's Palm/Passion Sunday prayer.

Prayers of the Church for Grandview
16 March 2008

Eternal Father, we gather in awe of the love and sacrifice of your Son, our Savior: Jesus; perfection in skin and skeleton. The passion of Jesus to save us leaves us dumbfounded. We are dumbfounded by our inability to repay. We also become exasperated at our inability to live up to the high calling of Christ that is inherent in his life and message.

So great is his sacrifice; so magnificent his love; so overpowering his grace for us that no response short of worship is appropriate. Accept this praise we offer you today in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Glory and honor and praise belong, O God, to you. Great is your name and worthy to be praised.

Even as we praise you and lift loud “Hosannas,” loud shouts of “save us,” we remember that the crowd in Jerusalem that offered their coats as carpet, and their palm branches as pavement, soon turned from praise to punishment, from veneration to verdict.

Each of us bears the seeds of Judas, of betrayal and selfish stupidity. Forgive us, and restore us, when our deception and disloyalty overwhelms our love for you. Forgive us for the many ways we deny you. Lord, in the silence, we confess our sin to you:


O God, life has taken difficult turns for members of our family. Please heal Rex and all who are sick. Please give your strong hand of protection for those who vulnerable to the attacks of war around the world, and to those vulnerable to the attacks of violent criminals here in our own city. Comfort those who mourn the loss of loved ones, especially the family of Thelma Mayfield. Give the power of your Spirit to those who seek to overcome addictions. To those who are dying, Lord, please give a peaceful and timely death.

God, we praise you this morning. In the midst of this praise, help us to live up to our own words, even as we pray the words your Son taught us to pray:

Friday, March 14, 2008

Weekend Update

It's been a fast paced week here at Grandview. I haven't made time for blogging.

Rex has surgery today. If you get the chance, please pray that they will get all of the cancer.

One of the dear ladies in our church died this week, she was almost 98. A fine lady, Thelma and her husband were missionaries to Italy immediately following World War II. The fruit of their ministry was obvious at the funeral. One of their "Timothys," Gioele Sittembrini, gave the funeral message in word and song. He has a fantastic opera/tenor voice. On Sunday night the Milligan College Concert Choir graced Grandview with a wonderful performance. Our own Joel Buckner was the accompaniest for their tour of the southeast. Afterwards they enjoyed a nice supper in our foyer/fellowship hall (maybe the fellowship hall will be ready soon? Two months? ).
The week has been made busier because I began teaching Christ and Culture at Milligan on Tuesday night. It's the biggest class I've had (23 students). It seems like a good group. We're in the long haul portion of my calendar. Between teaching, Lent/Easter, normal ministry issues, trying to get started on the planning for a third service, and doing what we can to facilitate getting out into our community for service and relationship building I may not be blogging much.


One more pic ... this is just the first service prep on Sunday morning.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Tomorrow's Offering

Tomorrow we tackle John 11 and the raising of Lazarus--or, more appropriately, it tackles us. Tomorrow was also supposed to be Parent Dedication day, but circumstances have caused it to be rescheduled. Now I wish I had not made a PowerPoint slide for it last week. Oh well ... like the infamous saying goes, "I didn't lie. The truth changed."

As an added bonus, tomorrow night the Milligan Concert Choir will treat us to a concert at 6pm in the sanctuary.

Here is the prayer:

Prayers of the Church for Grandview
9 March 2008

Lord, like local weather men predicting Appalachian snow, we think we know what you’re going to do, but we don’t. We think we understand your ways, but we are continually surprised. We read your book. We study your history with humanity. We worship you, offering you the best our voices and talents can blend together to produce. We try to do things your Son modeled for us.

Despite all of this we still find ourselves kneeling at your feet, baffled by the pain, the suffering, and the evil that remain so much a part of our world. Disease and destruction, cruelty and killing, domination and degradation have become the chosen culture of our people.

Give us a share of your hunger to save, O God. Remind us of the sacrifices you made in order to become the light invading our darkness. Remind us of your ultimate goals and help us to be willing to make our prayers, our aspirations, and our hopes secondary to your great hope to gather all of creation under the mighty and tender protection provided by your wings.

Thank you for places like this, where we come together to acknowledge that you, indeed, are God, and that your ways are higher than ours. Thank you for this place where we can catch our breath and remember that you have called us to joy, peace, and patience. Give us these things as we straddle the daily chasm between the way things are and the way you have called us to live—picking up our crosses and trusting you with the consequences.

Our prayer list is known to you, and not just because of your great knowledge, but because we regularly mention it to you. Forgive us when we grow weary of praying for the same thing week after week. Renew our hope by showing us your power to heal sickness, to comfort the grieving, to strengthen the weak, to protect the vulnerable, to deliver the addicted, to give peace to the dying.

In the silence some of us will be praying for the same thing as last week. Lord, hear our prayers:


Great are you God, and worthy of praise and honor and glory. We admire you for making us, for keeping us alive, and for calling us together to serve the world as a sign of your love, grace, and passion for humanity. And so we pray together, as you have taught us:

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Two 4 Two: Week 5

We're half-way through this semester's Two 4 Two. This is the time of Spring when school breaks start impacting the program, but things continue to go well. Joe Wise is doing a fine job of leading the adult Bible Study in Luke. In all other things the kids seems to be enjoying themselves.

Here's the fifth video in our "Dreaming with Dr. Joe" series. Matt Buckner outdid himself on this one, as did Sam Vaughn who makes a great protagonist. Brandon Stanbrough continues to shine as Dr. Joe (by the way, in case you haven't caught it yet, the character is named Joe because he's interpreting dreams ... a la Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors and Joseph the husband of Mary).

I like this video because it feels like a cartoon. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Welcome, Toby!

For those of you who read my blog during my time at Asbury, you will remember my classmate, Bryan "Buckeye" Bucher. Yesterday he became the proud papa of Toby. Congratulations to the Bucher family, especially to mama Aimee who, by virtue of being the mother of 4 boys and a husband (yes ... i intended it to sound like that), will never even sniff purgatory. That woman will be on a bullet train to heaven.In honor of the newest Bucher, I've embedded this little video that most of you have already seen. David Roberts is the one who told me about it. It's a touching and funny homage to brotherhood:

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Tomorrow's Offering

After a manic week I'm going to be working on the sermon a lot today. The text for this week's sermon is John 9. This chapter is commonly known as the Healing of the Man Born Blind. Having spent the past few weeks in John's gospel I am finding a new appreciation for it. I like the picture of Jesus that John paints when Jesus is interacting with people. He brings out a side of Jesus that is harder to see in the other three gospels. This Jesus is much better at banter.

The youth are up in Grundy, Virginia today serving at The Mountain Mission School. Feel free to pray for their safety, but also for the growth, community, and maturity than can be the fruit of these kinds of trips.

Here is the prayer:

Prayers of the Church for Grandview
2 March 2008

O God, whether we are born sinners or become sinners, whether nativity bestows our afflictions upon us or we simply embrace them along life’s path, we come to you because you are the one who loves, forgives, and heals. We come to you because you are the fountain of life, eternal and effervescent. We come to you because in the palm of your Son’s hand is a new reality, wounded, healed, transcended, and offered to the world.

Mix your Spirit with our clay and remove our blindness, we wash ourselves in your healing stream, sinking beneath the waters in faith, trusting that you will pour your grace upon and through us.

Forgive us, Lord, for being healed but refusing to become healers. Forgive us our inaction when your world needs the body of your Son, the church, to move in its midst and speak words of life. Forgive us for becoming religious spin doctors and spectators when you have called us to pick up our crosses and to bear the stripes that will heal others.

So many of us would do more in your kingdom if we would be freed from our prisons of addiction, self-interest, fear, and sloth. Lord, in the silence call us from incarceration to incarnation; from lethargy to love.


Bless those on our prayer list this morning. Bless, also, those who minister to their needs. For those who are depressed, we ask for renewal and hope. For those who sick, we ask for healing. For those who are being filled anger and hate, we ask for the willingness and ability to forgive. For those in harm’s way, we ask for safety. For those who are grieving the loss of marriage or loved one, we pray for your Holy Spirit to be a sure and present comforter. And for those whose time to die has come, we pray for a peaceful and timely death.

Lord, please continue to bless the organizations that further the work of your kingdom here and around the world. Bless Agape Women’s Services, Appalachian Christian Camp, Appalachian Christian Village, the Christian Student Fellowship at ETSU, Emmanuel School of Religion, the European Evangelistic Society, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Milligan College, and the Salvation Army—and all who provide labor and support for them.

We boldly pray as your Son has taught us: