Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tomorrow's Offering, Pt. 2

Elder Lorna has submitted her prayer for tomorrow. Thanks, Lorna!


Lord of all nations, we as citizens of your kingdom come before you this morning a diverse people, yet united in our acknowledgment of you as creator, redeemer and sustainer. You, who are three, yet one, have given each of us unique gifts to extend your kingdom here in Northeast Tennessee. You have called us to leave behind childish and petty disagreements and focus on encountering each other with words of healing and encouragement. You have called us to join together to reach out to those beyond our congregation with a glimpse of what your kingdom can be. We thank you for leaders who motivate and prepare us for works of service and lead us in toward a unity of faith.

We are always mindful that you and your kingdom claim first loyalty in our lives, yet we also find ourselves as citizens of an earthly nation of equally diverse people. We thank you for allowing us to live in a country which has just witnessed a peaceful transfer of power. We pray your special blessings on all new leaders of our congregation and of our nation. We pray that those who now hold the authority to make decisions which affect our lives will resist the temptation to let their power become pride or disregard for those they serve. Give our leaders and us the wisdom to listen to each other. May they and we chose faith over fear, compassion over violence, and common ground over partisanship and self-interest. We long for a world of righteousness, justice, and peace, yet we know those ideals will not happen in our world until they first happen in our lives.

Invigorate, heal, strengthen, and encourage those who are sick, struggling, or sad. Give us the hearts of servants so we might minister to those on our prayer list. 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 hearts to see you in those we call our enemies. Give us the grace to realize that they, like we, are sinners in need of forgiveness.

We pray for our sister churches. Today we especially ask your blessing on Walnut Christian Church and on their minister, Tim Carlson. We ask that their youth group be nurtured as they help form the life and future of that congregation. We seek your blessings on those involved this week with IHN, both those of us who serve and those families to whom we minister.

Now hear us as we pray together as we have been taught: Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

Tomorrow's Offering

We continue to focus on Christian maturity during Epiphany. I don't have any prayer to post today. Sorry. My prayer writers don't get me copies in advance (if they want to, I'll be happy to post them!). We'll begin something new in the prayers tomorrow. I want us to be praying for other churches in the area. I contacted Tim Carlson at Walnut Christian Church and let him know that we would be praying for them tomorrow. I also asked if there was anything public and specific we could include in our prayer. He said their youth program is going really well. So, we rejoice with Walnut.

With the cold and ice receding like my hairline, hopefully we'll have a good turnout for worship tomorrow. The title of the sermon will be "Growing Up: Becoming Leaders" and I'll be looking at the call of the disciples.

In lieu of the prayer, here's the intro to my sermon. Peace!

Can you see Abraham, standing outside the city of Ur? His flocks are covered by their rising, visible, breath in the morning air as they prepare to leave Ur with him. His possessions are loaded and ready, all on the backs something or someone. If you look closely, you’ll notice the look he gives Sarah. She sits on a beast of burden, bundled, in order to keep the chill from settling in her bones; next to her weariness.

Abraham feels a twinge. You know the twinge. It’s the one you get after you’ve decided to do something risky. It’s that tiny spot deep in your gut, sharp and steely, that reminds you of all the times you’ve been wrong about things, even when you were sure you were right.

Watch Abraham as he looks to the empty morning sky, no clouds, no remaining stars. He speaks to a God he cannot see, “But if I haven’t heard you right, we’re all dead.”

It’s one thing to trust yourself to God’s reckless call; it’s quite another to trust your wife, your wealth, and your home.

Can you see Moses, standing on the shore of the Red Sea? A mass of people, his people, are standing behind him. They have been through so much; through generations of slavery and abuse. Next to Moses is his brother. In front of him is an impassable body of water. Bearing down on him and his people is the most powerful army he has ever known. The army is angry and desperate and ready to attack.

Watch Moses look at the mass of people he has led into this mess. His eyes don’t look boastful in this grand moment; they look worried. Watch Moses as he looks to a sky that is filled with ominous and angry clouds, and as he speaks to a God he cannot see, “Did I hear you right? Should all of these people die because of me?”

Friday, January 23, 2009

Little Thoughts ... none worth their own post.

Poor Judgment...On Tuesday I took my youngest with me to look at animal costumes for an upcoming Two4Two video shoot. She was out of school. She began the snow day by getting sick, but by 4pm she seemed to be feeling great. I decided to stop at the Harley-Davidson shop on the way home from the costume store. I thought it might be fun to look at expensive machinery I can't afford (well, I could afford it, but I would have to live in a shack and eat mac and cheese...which may explain why some Harley riders look like they do). In I walked with my sweet, little, 10-year-old daughter. We looked at one bike that seemed to have more chrome than surface area. It was $28,000 (that's $14,000 a wheel). We decided that if we were going to buy one, we would buy the new fatboy. Low to the ground. Matte black finish. It looks like a piece of art.

The salesman looked at my daughter and said, "You want a poster?" "Uuhh...sure," she said, not really wanting a poster, but wanting not to disappoint him. He gave her a shiny, black, tube with a rubber band. When we got into the car she opened up the poster. It had a sleek, black Harley on it. also had a skinny, suggetive, girl who might be 9 years older than the girl who was holding the poster in my passenger seat. The girl was perched on the bike like an angry cat in heat.

Think I'll stick to the Kawasaki shop.

Scrubs...I've spent a couple of hours in a doctor's office over the past week. I haven't been sick. I was participating in drop-off and pick-up duty.

The experience made me feel crumudgeonly. I didn't like incessant the cheering, screaming, and clapping on the talk show that was so loud it squeezed all conversation out of the tiny waiting room. I also thought that most of the people working in the office just looked sloppy.

When did the medical community decide that thin pajamas would inspire patient confidence? Take the girl who grabs a file, opens the door, shouts a name over the din of the television, looks at the incoming patient with "I-want-to-get-off-work" eyes, takes the patient's blood pressure, tells him to wait in another room, and then drops the file in an acrylic wall-mounted file holder (then repeats the process) . Does this woman really need to be wearing frumpy scrubs, covered with an oversized UT hoody? Really? Does she get splattered with anything except "Wow. It's cold out today!"?

To be fair, two or three of the nursing staff were able to wear scrubs and still look professional. Most of them, though, looked like they either wanted to get fired; or get a big bag of chips and watch the television in the lobby.

Apologies...That's enough grumpy old man for one post. On the happier side, the cold snap didn't seem so bad to me this year. I don't know why. It's been bug-killing cold out for over a week now, and that's okay.

We didn't cancel church last Sunday, despite the ice. I don't regret having services, but I need to make sure to communicate to people that if they suspect it's too icy or snowy, they have Aaron Wymer's blessing to stay home (feels wierd to write that...why would anyone care if I permitted them to stay home?). When we need martyrs, we'll call. Until then, be safe.

We did have four people from Grandview fall on the ice Sunday morning. In each case they fell at home when they were heading out the door (or walking the dog). They are bruised, but fine.

Prayers...Cindy's grandfather is in the hospital this morning. If you think of it, say a prayer for him. Cindy got home at 3:30am after taking him to the ER last night. I should take some coffee by her office.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Sneak Peek

The number of loyal blog readers is dwindling. Alas ... this thing may run out of steam soon. But that's OK. It has served a good purpose and I'll keep it going for a least a while longer. If nothing else, it's a good exercise for me.

As a reward for coming to this page today, I offer you a view of the animoto presentation that we're going to open our "State of the Church" meeting with on Sunday night. I like how it turned out. What surprised me most was how much good stuff happened at Grandview last year.

I really wasn't sorry to see 2008 go, but when you stop and put together positive pictures from the year, you get a new appreciation for it. We really are blessed at Grandview.

Enjoy. It's about 4:30 in length. Thanks to the Isaac Schade Band for the background music.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Gator Nation Rejoices

It's time for your least favorite blog entry, but (hopefully) you're getting used to it

The Gators are BCS Champs!!!!

If you want to see more pics of the game (and I know you do), just click on the picture and it will take you to

Despite the Gator victory, there is some question as to who the best team in the country is. Some say USC, Texas, or Utah. They all have good arguments. USC's loss wasn't worse than Florida's loss. Texas' loss to Tech was really close. Utah didn't lose.

Great. Congratulations to all of those teams. If I were a fan of your team I would agree with you (I really would). But the schools all agreed to these rules and they happen to have worked in Florida's favor.

I comfort myself with the thought that out of all of those schools, only Florida's president, Bernie Machen, has publicly lobbied for a playoff system. He was laughed out of SEC President meetings for doing it last year, but at least he spoke up.

If your college president will join him, maybe we can get a true playoff and be done with the BCS system. Until then, we live with the system we've got. Sorry USC, Texas, and Utah.

Oklahoma impressed me. Kudos to the opponent for being fast, tough, and relentless.

Go Gators.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I'm working on the sermon for next Sunday. I will be mentioning "embarrassment" as a key element in our Christian maturation. So I decided to find some embarrassing moments.

This one takes the cake. This happened in 2004 when a children's group invited a DEA agent to come into the classroom to speak about guns. The agent, Lee Paige, says "I'm the only one in the room that I know of who is professional enough to carry a Glock .40."

Then he literally shoots himself in the foot. You can watch the whole thing if you want, but the action is kind over after he shoots himself. He tries to play it off.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Tomorrow's Offering

I've been a baaaad blogger. I haven't told you that Cindy's grandfather returned to New Jersey not long after he moved in with us. I also didn't tell you that he re-returned to Johnson City on Christmas Eve and is now living in an assisted living facility here in town. So, welcome back to Pop. We're glad to have you here.

I'd be lying, though, if I said the transition has been or continues to be smooth. It's hard to leave your home of over 50 years. Prayers are welcome.

Also, Meg has returned from the Rose Bowl Parade. We got to see her, if only briefly, on the HGTV coverage. She had a fun trip and we're glad she's back, safe and sound.

Tomorrow's sermon ends the Christian season for us. I'll be preaching on Ephesians 1:3-14 and the fact that God has planned our adoption from before time. It will be an attempt at driving home the broad picture of faith that Paul espouses in this passage.

Tomorrow's prayer people are Kevin Harkey (9:30), Craig Hardy (Table), and Bob Hall (11am). His prayer is dutifully and wonderfully ready. It follows:

Prayers of the Church for Grandview
4 January 2009

We come before You, most honored Lord, in deep appreciation for what You have done for us, what You have done for the entire world. You are our Creator, You are our provider. You have given us life. You have given us each other. All we have is from You, our possessions, our friends and family, our very lives. Blessed be Your name.

Father, You loved us so much that You offered us salvation through Your glorious grace, the glorious grace and truth found in our savior, Jesus Christ. In him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us.

And as we have accepted You, You have adopted us into Your family, the family of God…now we are not just one of Your creation, but one of Your children. We are not alone. We are not left to our own devices. Instead, we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Through the blood of the Lamb, You give us the opportunity to matter. Through Your unconditional love, we can share the joy of being a part of Your family

Being one of Your children is a privilege, not a right and we know can’t earn it. We also know that with privilege comes responsibility, the responsibility to live right lives, the responsibility to take care of Your resources, the responsibility of caring for our brothers and sisters Here and around the world, the responsibility of spreading the Good News to all the reaches of the earth so that all might live for the praise of His glory.

Forgive us of our sins. Forgive us when we fail You and thank You for Your grace upon grace.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the silence, hear our prayers of penitence, our prayers of hope, our prayers for those in need:

We pray for 2009 with all the possibilities it holds. We pray for peace. We pray for reconciliation. We pray for tolerance. We pray that Godly goodness prevails, Give our leaders -- our president and other world leaders, as well as our local leaders -- the wisdom of restraint, the wisdom of discernment.

And now we pray together as Jesus taught us to pray: