Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Breaking Blog Silence

Last week I worked exclusively on the dissertation (thanks, Frank*, for preaching for me and thanks, Sam, for Two4Two help!). This week it's dissertation, sermon, and one blog post.

Doctor of Ministry dissertations (at most places) are 5 chapters long. I turned Chapter 4 in last Friday and am working on the final chapter this week. If you're the praying type, I am only too happy to ask you to add that to your prayer list.

I didn't blog last week for two reasons: 1) I really had to get Chapter 4 in by Friday and I needed every little morsel of time, and 2) there isn't much excitement in a week like that, though a couple of blog-worthy moments did arise (when I have time I might type them up, but Chapter 5 looms).

I made it home on Saturday. On Sunday morning we had our Welcome to Grandview class during both hours while Frank did the preaching. On Sunday evening we said goodbye to John and Yvonne, as it was their last Sunday at Grandview. Thankfully, we should still see them plenty. They're just going to First Christian Church where John will be on staff as Minister of Counseling and some other stuff. It's the "other stuff" that always concerns ... I think his official title, like many non-Senior ministers, will be Minister of Shifting Job Descriptions (MSJD, for short).

I have to give a special blog-thanks to Phyllis for stepping into the planning role on such short notice and doing such a fantastic job. Thanks, Phyllis!

We will miss you John and Yvonne! Thanks for sharing your gifts with Grandview.

Entertainment at the goodbye banquet was provided Becky, who always does such a great job of a) lifting the mood of a place, b) adding humor to situations, and c) jabbing tender wounds. If you've never had the chance to be roasted by Becky, I highly recommend it. She was helped by her granddaughter, Norrah.
Entertainment was also provided by Bob Hull. He sang three songs, each appropriate to the occasion. Between Bob and Becky, we had a nice program for saying bye to the Marrs.I'm just inlcuding this picture because I like it. Rollin and Arianna, awaiting Michelle's return from her travels to Gautamala to assist Don and Peggy Orth in cleaning and fixing teeth for people in remote villages.
*Frank is not really what I would call a "blog-reader," but I can thank him even if he won't see it!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tomorrow's Offering

It won't be in the bulletin tomorrow, but we do have a slide announcing that on Sunday, February 22nd we will say goodbye to the Marrs. I'm calling it:I know ... corny. Oh well, short notice! I hope you can make it. It will be a pot-luck function and the planning is just getting underway. Normally Yvonne would plan this kind of function, but because we're saying goodbye to her, I thought asking her to organize it would be tacky. Phyllis Fox has agreed to lead the task but, as you may know, she's new to Grandview. Any help you can offer will be appreciated.

Now to tomorrow's services. I don't have any of the pastoral prayers yet. I'll add them as they roll in (if I'm back at my computer later today). Tomorrow is the penultimate sermon in the series on Christian maturity. Frank Smith will wrap it up on next Sunday.
We will look, again, at the ministry of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. Tomorrow Jesus heals a leper and tells him to keep quiet about it, except for going to the priests to be declared clean.

The man is too excited to follow through with what Jesus tells him to do. Interesting scenario; most of us who don't follow through with Jesus' commands do so out of apathy, not excitement!

This week has been pretty quiet pastorally. Willy B. had eye surgery and while the surgery went well, she wasn't feeling great much of the week. As for other things this week, well, you've already seen the Two4Two post. Yesterday, Deke B., Jason H. and I shot the remaining "Taming the Ancient Wildeor" videos. That was fun. Jason makes a fine Wildeor.

Okay. Back to work on the dissertation.

This just in: Bob Hall's prayer for the 11am service. Enjoy.

Prayers of the Church for Grandview
15 February 2009

We come before you, Lord God, looking for an anchor in a stormy world. All around us the world is busy, the world is chaotic, the world is beautiful and ugly at the same time. We are bombarded by temptations, by sin. We are surrounded by danger. Want and need are everywhere we look. The poor and the despised, the ugly and the infirm, cry out for help. Trust in the world and we are lost. You are our rock, you are our strength, you are our redeemer. In you, we find our peace. We rest upon your unchanging grace; in every high and stormy gale, our anchor holds within the veil.
In you we find our peace, but it’s often on our own terms. We like you Lord, the way we like you. It’s almost like we have our own religion that we need you to fit into. Clear our minds, Lord. Make us right. Help us see you are the God of everything and that you’re with all your followers, all your servants. Forgive us when we put you in a box, forgive us when we pull you out and dust you off and try to wind you up like a toy to please us. Forgive us.
We want to serve you, Lord. We want to do your will and we often try very hard to spread the Good News to every nation. But we also often see one way to accomplish your tasks. We often see OUR way of reaching your goals. When things stand in our way, we lose focus, we get frustrated, we sometimes even give up. God, don’t let us get sidetracked by the world, by our own desires, by well-meaning people, by our fears and phobias. Just as Jesus kept his eyes upon you and his purpose, so help us to remain steadfast to your design.
Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and his righteousness. We know, Father, that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thank you for the cleansing blood of the Lamb. Thank you for your limitless grace.
Bless our enemies and let them be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb just as we are.
In the silence hear our prayers of despair and of hope, of sadness and of joy…of thanksgiving:

We specifically pray for Lone Oak Christian Church. We ask your blessing on their leadership and especially on their minister, Tad Johnson. Support them as they continue the goal of all Christians -- to deepen and mature. Give them wisdom regarding when, where, and if to build a new building.
We pray for Agape Women’s Services and their mission here in the community. Bless them as they show your unconditional love for the people they serve.
We also pray for Greg and Allison Coley and the entire Globalscope team serving at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. Help them build the relationships, help them share your love with the students, and help them stay focused on your will.

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

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two 4 Two returns!

It's back, and better than ever ... really. Last night was fantastic, from the fellowship time, to the meal time, to the worship time, to the study time. If you see Ryan or Dana, be sure to tell them "Good job" because Two 4 Two continues to be an important part of Grandview's response to the gospel.

Now to some random scenes from last night:
The youth preparing to make the communion bread for Sunday mornings (learning to bake and learning to provide important things for worship).
Dee and granddaughter.

Boys CANNOT resist the urge to make shadow puppets.

The dining area was packed out, and the food was great (thanks to Jennifer and Susan).

Frank enjoying is status as Dee's fiance'.

Jack hitting the carpet ball table.

I love this picture.

Aubrey buying a ticket to Grand Central Station.

Haley and Bethany (Haley wanted me to appreciate her pro-Kentucky, anti-Vol, anti-Gator T-shirt).

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tomorrow's Offering

Things were bit quieter, pastorally, around Grandview this week. We don't have anyone in the hospital right now. As I type the Grandview update (from the Oasis Coffee Shop in JC)the beginning of the warm up is taking place. Most of the week it was just winter.

I don't want to complain about the natural progression of the seasons, so I'll just mention that we've had enough cold and ice to be able to claim full participants in the season.

SuperBowl Sunday was nice, though. I even had the chance to ride to Shady Valley, TN--on roads that seemed to designed for motorcycle joy.

Because I'm not preaching tomorrow, I was able to get more done on my dissertation. I'm going to keep trying to plug-away (immediately after posting this entry). Even without the sermon, though, there was much to be done.
  • John Marr announced he will be leaving our staff to join the staff of First Christian Church. We will miss him and we wish him well.
  • The new website is getting closer to it's rollout. We just have to get the static pages formed.
  • Two4Two was supposed to begin this week but didn't, due to weather. I am still working on the video/teaching focus of the Rendezvous (worship time) portion of Two4Two. We will focus on the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. This will include the introduction of the mythical beast Wildeor. Wildeor is just an ancient word for wild beast and it's where we get our word for wilderness.
  • I also raided Maxxie Dunnam for a Lenten sermon series. I won't be using his sermons (I can't do that sort of thing). But his arrangement of the questions of Jesus is really good. So I've planned that course of sermons and made some pics for slides and the upcoming webpage.
  • Dr. Bill Gwaltney will be preaching tomorrow. The "Rabbi" as he is called around here, is a fine man and I'm very pleased to have him preaching for us. He will continue our series on Christian maturity. Dr. Gwaltney was recently named alumnus of the year by Hebrew Union University in Cincinnatti. Welcome to Grandview's pulpit, doc!
Tomorrow's prayers will be led by Dirk D, Bob H, and Craig H. Bob H has already given me the 11am service prayer. Enjoy!

Prayers of the Church for Grandview
8 February 2009

Lord of all, we bow down before you in prayer. You are our God and we are your people.
God of Power, you control all that we know and do not know; all that we see and do not see. You make the sun shine, you make the rain fall. You make the fields green. You calm the seas. You quiet the winds. You lift up the righteous and punish the wicked. You have conquered all manner of evil. Demons cower before you. Satan is powerless against you. You are God omnipotent.
God of Healing, you take us, battered and broken by myriad ills and you repair us. By your healing touch, you can make our minds and our bodies, our spirits and our flesh, whole again.
God of Truth, through your word, you share with us the meaning of life. You teach us how to live; you teach us how to witness. Give us the excitement to proclaim your kingdom to all corners of the earth, to all peoples.
God of Sacrifice, through the example of your son, Jesus Christ, you teach us that living a Godly life, living a Christian life does not include the spotlight being turned on us. Sacrifice, true selflessness is focused on others, improving their lives in your name.
God of compassion, you lift us up. We sin and repent, time and again, and you cover us with your grace. Grace upon grace, your love envelops and purifies against even the most disgusting of our actions.
You are our God and we are your people. You are our Father and we are your children and your love is limitless.
Bless our enemies, Lord, and let them feel your power.
Now, in silence, we come before you. We clear our minds of the clutter around us. We focus ourselves on you and we pray. We pray for those who need healing, we pray for those who need comfort, we pray for new life – both physical and spiritual, we pray that although we will always fall short, we remain steadfast, we persevere, we persist because our ultimate goal is to serve you and love you in the same way you, through Jesus Christ, love us.
Help us every day, Father, to model ourselves after the sacrificial lamb, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Focus our attentions, not inwardly toward ourselves like the world tells us to do, but outwardly toward your creation spreading the good news of the risen savior.
We now lift up to you our brothers and sisters at the West Walnut Street Church. Specifically, we mention their minister, Jeff Doud, and their efforts to inviting those who don’t have a church home to find a place with them.
Bless the Community Groups around the area that we support. Bless their workers, their leadership, their volunteers and their efforts. Help us give them the aid they need.
And now we pray together as Jesus taught us to pray:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

New Jack Installed!

Dr. Jack Holland (an all around good guy) was installed today at Emmanuel School of Religion as full professor. He is professor of Christian Counseling. I don't think I've mentioned on the blog that I'm on the trustee's board at ESR (as of the Fall of '08). I had the honor of representing the board in the ceremony.

Jack did a great job. His message did a good job of joining theory and rubber-meets-road practice.

Congratulations, Jack.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Greers, Grandview, and Games

I didn't make it to the youth party for the big game, but I received these pictures in my email this morning. The Greers have faithfully hosted this thing for several years (and, trust me, this many youth can take a toll on your house!). I like the pictures and wanted to share them with the blog church.

Here the whole crew dons the 3-D glasses for the big pre-half-time show. It's a good thing The Boss wasn't in 3-D during the half time show ... because, well, I love ya' Bruce ... but it may be time to reinvent yourself. Sometimes he looked amazingly agile for his age, other times he looked like he was waiting for the Motrin to kick in.Speaking of reinventing yourself, here's Ryan looking spiffy.
I don't know if they're watching the games or the commercials at this point, but only one person looks truly impressed!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Today's Offering

It's been a busy week around here. Lots of hospital style visits and follow-up. Rollin R's father died this past week, Fred N is in the hospital this morning, Neal V fell and busted his knee cap, Judy N spent time in the ER this week (is home now), little Parker C had a seizure and wound up in the PICU, and that's just the stuff off the top of my head this morning. You are welcome to pray for them all.

The sermon this morning will be my second in a row without any funny-ish anecdotes. Sorry! Sometimes a sermon doesn't lend itself to those things. I've never figured out if the funny story quotient is more determined by the topic or by the mood of the sermon-writer.

We will look at Mark's accounts of (or lack thereof) Jesus as a teacher. Mark's gospel often calls Jesus "teacher," but includes very little of Jesus' teaching words.

Today's prayer people are Dirk DiSantis (welcome, Dirk! @ 9:30, Bob Hall (welcome back, Bob) @ 11, and Craig Hardy continues to carry the load at the Table. Below are the prayers of Bobby and then Dirk.

Prayers of the Church for Grandview
1 February 2009
11am Service:
God of peace, God of creation, you control all. The sun that shines upon us, the cold that makes us bundle up, the wind that makes us seek shelter, the rain that falls on each of us, they are your creation and we are in the middle of it all.
We thank you for the Holy Scriptures, words of life, words of truth. In them Jesus speaks with authority, personal authority, Godly authority, and he acts swiftly, strongly, he knows what is right and addresses evil with the power of your name.
This is how we want to be, too. We want to be like Jesus. We want to be righteous. Our hearts aren’t pure by any means, but our intentions are often good, often lofty, often selfless. Our intentions…so often we talk a good game, but when it comes time to stand up against evil, we shrink away. When it comes time to acknowledge you and your kingdom, we find excuses, we are busy, we have other priorities…sometimes even inside the church.
Satan, himself, recognizes your greatness. Demons shriek and cry in your presence. They know where the true power lies, but we fool ourselves. We say that we follow you and then we go off like little children and focus on us.
Thanks be to You, O God. Thank you for your love, your forgiveness, that when we go off, you wait eagerly for our return. Thank you for your Son, Jesus the Christ, whose perfection was manifested in both word and deed. Thank you for his teachings, thank you for his strength, thank you for his compassion and his grace. His life and teachings continue to bless us daily. Help us become mature Christians, loving God, let our words and our deeds reflect each other. Let our words and deeds reflect Jesus Christ. Help us be people of action, people who know you and know your will and allow it to guide us.
Bless our enemies, Lord. Let them see your strength and power. Let them feel your love.
Turn your face toward us, Father. In the silence, we bring to you our Thanksgivings for you are a mighty God; we bring you our sorrows because you are a gentle God; we bring you our weaknesses and failings because you are a loving God; we lay before you our sins, because you are a merciful God.

Thank you for the mature Christians who serve your kingdom here and around the world. Bless the Downtown Christian Church. Bless them as they seek to serve you in word and deed. Bless their leaders and bless their ministries. Shine your light upon our missionaries, Lord, and let them know you are with them through their trials and joys. Allow your love to shine on them through us.
And now we pray together as Jesus taught us to pray:

9:30 am service:
Most gracious heavenly Father, Lord of all creation, we gather together before you now with humble spirit. We praise you and exalt you Father, for you are our strength and our song. Each day we have the privilege to behold the great and awesome wonders of your works with our own eyes. We get to experience the joy that comes from basking in your blessings. Thank you for these gifts.
God we offer ourselves in service to you, and we pray for your guidance. Grant us the courage to confess our sins and to seek your grace and forgiveness. And let your Spirit guide us in everything that we do and say. Integrate our actions, our behaviors and our words, let them be harmonious so that every single aspect of our lives is a reflection of your grace and love.
We desire to extend the good news of your kingdom to all people as you have commanded. Father use us here at home, or anywhere in the world, to seek out those who are living a life outside of Christ’s salvation. Instill in us a passion for reaching out to others in Christian love, so that many will come to know you.
We thank you for Johnson City’s Downtown Christian Church. We pray for your blessing on their ministry, their congregation, and their minister Eddie Fines. We pray too for those missionaries who have answered the call to go far away from home, who have left friends and family behind, in order to serve as you have called them. Please bless their ministry, and provide them with health, safety and security.
And though it may feel difficult, we pray with sincerity that you will bless our enemies. Let them know your love, because true peace is found only in your presence.
God please provide comfort against our pain; and grant us peace and strength against our suffering. You know so well the struggles each of us are dealing with, the problems within our families, our church, our community, our country, our world. Some are much greater than others. But your unfailing love is our comfort, and so we bring all burdens to you now, and lay them at your feet in this silence.
Guide our steps in the important work planned for us while we live our lives here on earth. Reveal your will for us so that our service brings glory to you almighty God.
Now we pray together using the prayer Christ taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
They kingdom come, they 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, the power, and the glory forever, Amen