Saturday, August 30, 2008
On Thursday night I began teaching Christ and Culture at Milligan again. The class went well. The lecture hall in Derthick has been remodeled since last Spring and it seems to have made it a much better room for teaching.
Have a great Saturday. Cheer for the Gators!
Prayers of the Church for Grandview
31 August 2008
When nothing we can see existed, O God, you did not keep silent. You spoke and formlessness found shape; darkness disappeared into daylight; voids became landscapes, teaming with life. Your syllables became planets and plants and people.
When we knew you not, O God, you did not keep silent. Your word became flesh in the womb of your servant, Mary. Your word experienced creation from the inside and revealed to us the very heart and soul of the one who made us.
When your Son was in the grave, O God, you did not keep silent. You spoke and life sprang from the ground, overcoming tears with laughter; grief with joy—because your words are life and more life.
When we, your people, stand on the earth let us not keep silent. Let us, made in your image, echo your words of life. Let us speak them with the expectation that you will use our words in the lives of others. Give us the power to lift the hearts and souls of those around us by refusing to keep silent. Give us the power to heal, soothe, strengthen, and enliven this world with your word.
Lord, we understand that there is a time to keep silent, but please forgive us when we grow too ready to be silent. Give us the wisdom to know when to speak. Teach us the words to use. Help us to be bold in our obedience to you.
Forgive us for making our inclinations, our selves, our jobs, our schooling, or our families more important than the kingdom of God. Forgive us for letting our busy-ness keep us from deepening our friendships with your people and cutting us off from people who really do need to know you.
In the silence, if you are willing, please show us the things that we have made more important than your call upon our lives:
Bless those on our prayer list with peace, joy, healing, protection, and strength. Bless those who are caring for the people on our prayer list. Give to the dying a peaceful death.
Give the gift of speaking words of life to the Coleys, Freelands, Headens, Hillmans, Nyadors, Veals, and Orths. Refresh the McDades in their time with us. We also remember before you the Jacksons and the Colemans as you prepare then to follow your call.
Bless your church all over the world. Guide the feet of national leaders in the paths of peace. Bless, and do not curse, our enemies.
We pray as your Son, our blessed redeemer, has taught us.
Monday, August 25, 2008
The Table is set to hold 133 people . The attendance was 90 (I think, I have to ask Theresa the number again).
Even at 90, though, it looked full and, as far as I could tell, the room had a nice feel to it.
I was surprised by the shift from the 11 o'clock service to the Table. I've never just walked into a service and started preaching. That part was my least favorite part of the experience, but I suspect the shift will feel more natural as I get used to it.
This is shot of the original 11am service and it looks full from here, but he number on the attendance sheet was only 95. I demand a recount! Regardless, that means that we had 185 total adult worshipers during the 11am hour, which is good. ESPECIALLY when we consider that there was still space available in the parking lot. THANKS, THANKS, THANKS to those of you who have willingly parked off site. You are great.
Thanks to Lorna Crouch for taking the pictures. Thanks also to Jeff, Heather, and Theresa for doing the heavy lifting to make this day possible.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
As we move into the next phase of worship services at Grandview, I will be inviting the Elders to lead the pastoral prayer. In two of the services I don't have a choice, I have to turn it over to others. The day is coming, though, when I will turn even the writing of the prayers of the church over to others. When that happens it will probably be time to re-evaluate my blog. In the aftermath of being on the Beeson adventure, the pastoral prayer has been, for me, the soul of this blog.
I appreciate your prayers for tomorrow's big adventure!
24 August 2008
God of power and might, the heavens and the earth declare your glory, pouring forth praise for the one who created all things, seen and unseen. The infinite reaches of space are not big enough to hold you. Miniscule beings at the bottom of the ocean are not small enough to escape your notice
And, yet, despite your power and glory, you know the pain of loss. You know the pain of loss because your word became flesh, lived among us, and felt the stabbing sting of spikes driven into that flesh. You stood by and allowed it to happen.
You could have punished humanity for treating your Son with such deplorable animosity, but you poured tears of grace into the deadly wounds that we inflicted upon your Son. You poured life into death; that empty urn that claims us all. And while we sealed the grave from the outside, you broke the seal from the inside!
We praise you for giving us life and life eternal. We praise you for being patient, despite your power, while humanity did the worst we could think to do to you.
We confess that we are too often afraid to embrace the same kind of love that you have shown us in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. We are too ready to shrink from the challenge of participating in a love that is willing to suffer for others; from a love that is willing to let others suffer for the sake of making you better known to the world. We confess that we don’t even consider loving you that deeply because we get caught up in our selves and our needs and our wants.
In the silence, please accept the opening of our hearts before you, O God, the Fear of Isaac and the Hope of Humanity:
Remember those who are on our prayer list this morning. The list is too big for each of us to know everyone on it. And so, overwhelmed by the need, we hold it up before your throne. Give healing, comfort, strength, protection, and new life to each person. Give a peaceful death to those who have come to that threshold.
Bless the institutions that exist for your kingdom’s purposes, especially Agape Women’s Services, Appalachian Christian Camp, Appalachian Christian Village, Christian Student Fellowship at ETSU, Emmanuel School of Religion, European Evangelistic Society, Higher Ministries, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Milligan College, and the Salvation Army.
We pray, O Lord, as your Son has taught us.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The English name of the restaurant? "Translation Server Error."
In honor of the difficulty of language and the translation of language, I'm posting the following pictures from www.engrish.com. Special thanks to Lorna for the tip ....
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I think the new Milliganders enjoyed it as well. We have four Grandview spawn in this class. Marshall, Danielle, Cara Beth, and Ryan.
Things seemed to go fine. I used the Flobots' song, "Handlebars" in the sermon, as well as their song "Rise". We also did "reverse communion," which was an idea I had last week. They were all given bread and invited to bring it to the table as a sign of their willingness to bring themselves to the Body of Christ over the next four years.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The prayer begins with an adaptation of Psalm 57, which is a Psalm of David that the Bible tells us was written when he had fled from Saul by hiding in a cave. I thought this would be an appropriate linking of a Psalm to the sermon and the prayer.
Tomorrow is the last Sunday before we add the third service. Things will change dramatically in just one week. If you're a Grandviewian reading this, tomorrow may be the last peaceful, easy, Sunday for awhile. Once the new service begins things will feel a little hectic for awile (one month? two?) as we seek a new rhythm.
Here's the prayer:
17 August 2008
Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us,
for in you our souls takes refuge.
We will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
We cry out to God Most High,
to God, who fulfills his purposes for us.
You send from heaven and save us,
rebuking those who hotly pursue us;
You send your love and your faithfulness.
We are in the midst of lions;
We lie among ravenous beasts—
people whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
They spread a net for our feet—
We were bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in our path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.
Our hearts are steadfast, O God,
our hearts are steadfast;
We will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
We will awaken the dawn.
We will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
We will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth
Remember the sick, the suffering, and the dying. Remember all who serve our safety by putting theirs at risk. Give stable governments to those who don’t have the protection that a stable government provides. Bless this nation. Bless our enemies. Continue to call all of us together into the kingdom of God, a nation of priests before your throne.
Remember those who are on our prayer list this morning, and those we name before you in the silence:
Pure and holy and righteous are you, O Lord most high. You accomplish your will through blameless and honorable action. Forgive us when we compromise the integrity of our faith, when we embrace sinful ways in order to get what we want. By your Spirit, help us to love the ways of Jesus Christ our Savior, who taught us to pray:
Friday, August 15, 2008
What beautiful August weather we are having! When people write books about kids playing outside in the summer this is the weather the illustrators draw for the pictures. Warm breezes. Low humidity. Puffy clouds. And smiles. Below is a picture from one of those "it's good to be alive" moments.Allow me to belabor the point, please. The weather has been consistently good for a week and a half. This is Anna's school. Though the picture doesn't capture the scene well, I just had to smile and snap a picture when I saw how beautiful East Tennessee can be (when the humidity doesn't blanket the views).
When I was at Asbury last week to work on my dissertation I got to go to the Monday morning Beeson student worship time. The sermon was delivered by a Beeson student from Russia. The sermon was excellent. The man's sense of humor reminded me of Yuri Skopylotov, the Russian student at Emmanuel a few years back.
This past week I bought a purple cow. That's right, a 1999 Kawsaki Concours. My Honda has been out of commission for awhile and we need an extra set of wheels at the Wymer home. Jeff Keeling, Johnson City Press reporter extraordinaire' and member of Grandview, was ready to sell. I borrowed it for a couple of days and decided that I could learn to handle a 1000cc motorcycle. Riding this bike is a very different experience than the Honda, but I'm getting the hang of it.
The official opening of the kitchen required a labor force to move the old kitchen stuff upstairs to the new kitchen. Fortunately we had a whole host of folks show up to help. It will be soooo nice to have everything conveniently located when Two 4 Two starts on September 17th.
That's all I feel like sharing right now. I've got a sermon to write ya' know.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Tomorrow we continue our series on taking a stand, with Daniel and his three friends who refused the fat of the king's table when taken into exile in Babylon.The prayers of the church are based, as some of you will doubtlessly know, upon the prayer of General Thanksgiving in the Book of Common Prayer. I've fiddled with it some, but it provides such a beautiful framework for the prayer.
10 August 2008
We bless you our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. We bless you for the sure knowledge that you, indeed, are God and that we can trust your ways. We bless you for the knowledge of how of how to be in this world according to your will.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise not only with our lips, but in our lives by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days.
We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have been mousy when we should have been bold. We have been afraid to stand strong according to your will. We have fallen for the spirit of the age. We’re truly sorry and we humbly repent.
As always, O God, we lovingly hold before you those who are on our prayer list. Be an ever-present blessing to those who grieve, to the sick, those in harm’s way, to those struggling with depression or addiction.
Lord, for the people and the concerns we have not listed, we pray in the silence:
Lord, bless those who curse us. Bless the ones who hate us and speak ill of us, either as individuals or as a church. Help us to be a blessing to them in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray:
Saturday, August 02, 2008
It's a good thing the Grandview elders are good at calling because there was a lot of pastoral work this week. Also, with the start date of the Table just around the corner, there are more details to anticipate. Fortunately we've got a good team in place.
The theme for this month's sermons will be:We'll be looking at people in the scripture who dared to stand for God even though they were in tricky situations. If I enjoy preparing for all of the sermons as much as I've enjoyed this one, then it will be a fun month (for me at least!). Tomorrow we will look at Micaiah, a prophet during the reign of King Ahab (circa 850 BC, 1 Kings 22). My favorite thing about him? He was a sassy prophet. It's no wonder Ahab didn't like him.
Here's the prayer. If you're in town I hope to see you tomorrow. If you're not in town, I hope don't forsake the assembling together of the body of Christ. If worship isn't local then it isn't universal.
Prayers of the Church for Grandview
3 August 2008
God who became flesh and stood among us, who felt the loam and the earth under your feet, we come before you in our flesh and we take a stand in your name. We stand and proclaim that you are a great God, a great king above all Gods. In your hands are the caverns of the earth and the heights of the hills are yours. The fish that dart through the ocean, the birds slicing through the air, and the beasts prowling the forests all belong to you. We are here to see that the praise and worship of humanity are yours as well.
Accept, we pray, this offering of time that we make by gathering together. Accept the offering of song and hopes and joy along with our admission of pain and disappointment and suffering. Work together all of these things for our good and for the good of those around us. Help us to be a blessing to the whole earth. Give us the wisdom and the resolve we need to make the right choices today so that tomorrow we will be in a position to bless our families, our friends, and our enemies.
Forgive us, Lord, for not seeing the connection between today’s sloth and tomorrow’s inability to overcome evil. Forgive us for being blind to today’s habits that become tomorrow’s sins—sins that work in us like leaven to bring death into our relationships and into our lives. Forgive us for forgetting that the sin really does lead us away from you.
We so often pray that you would give us the desire of our hearts while not realizing how deceitful our hearts are. Lord, please give us clean hands and pure hearts before honoring even our most sincere, but misguided, requests.
We invite you to show us the wickedness that we have hidden in our hearts, the secret desires that surprise even us, the rebellion that we have unwittingly embraced. Show us these things, please, in the silence:
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, Higher Ministries, 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.
Reinvigorate, heal, strengthen, encourage, and embolden those who are sick, struggling, or sad. Give your protection to those who are risking their lives to protect us. Give a peaceful death to those whose time to die has come. Give us the hearts of servant so we might minister to those on our prayer list.
And, as always, we ask that by the power of your Holy Spirit we might mean it when we ask you to bless our enemies—just like your Son told us to do, even our Lord and Savior Jesus of Nazareth, who taught us to pray: