Friday, August 21, 2009

Catching Up...

Sometimes I REALLY like how a promo-picture comes out. This one is one of my favorites. I like the feel, the color, the and the "upwardness" of this slide (coming to a website and morning announcement slideshow near you). I need to thank Matt Buckner for opening the world of Photoshop to me. Thanks, Matt!
I don't have a sermon series slide to show you. This Sunday's sermon is a stand-alone. I'll be preaching on Ichabod, a character from the Old Testament. His name meant, "God has abandoned us." I think that's a pretty lousy name.

If you have a favorite name (good or bad) please share it with me (you can leave the comment), it might make it into the sermon. There is only one requirement: you have to have actually MET the person you name, or be able to point me proof that the name really exists. I don't want a bunch of Lemonjello and Orangejello comments! I already plan to mention Trivia Riddle, Will Power, Ivan Odor, and Harry Pitts (Harry is a minister in Lebanon, Indiana). Now to various fun things that happened this week. I had the opportunity to speak at Milligan's College's fun fresheman day at Doe River Gorge. They end the day with worship. I'm always a little intimidated when I speak to an all-college crowd, but things seemed to go well. They were warmed up by a David Butzu led worship time (David is the worship guy at Hopwood Christian Church, he's in the above picture). He did an amazing job of bringing various worship cultures together in a fresh setting.

On Sunday night the church gave me a little celebration for the completion of the D.Min. degree. Tom Root sang some Root-Originals for us and Buddy and Becky Swain made us all smile with their rendition of a My Fair Lady inspired spoof on my doctoral work. Buddy played the part of me while Becky played the part of Eliza DoVeryLittle. They are amazing.

See. They made all of us smile.

On Wednesday Cindy and I celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary ... a little bit. It's a bad week for people who work at Milligan to have a wedding anniversary. Once all of the students get back and settled we'll have a better chance to celebrate!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Big Picture Draws Nigh

School, for most young'ns, is back in session. Milligan freshman are arriving this weekend. And my summer sermon series is drawing to a close tomorrow. I have really enjoyed this series; not sure why. I'm kind of sad to see it go. It's 6:15 on Saturday night and while the sermon is mostly formed, I'm still working on it because it needs more pop. I hate for the series to go out with a whimper.

Why am I so late finishing the sermon? It's a combination of things. Work is full of little details these days and I'm trying to do a good job of getting to them. The counseling load is higher than it used to be. AND, I'm having motorcycle trouble. Today Ross Russell helped me with the fixing of the bike, but more needs to be done before I can attempt to ride to Indy. Motorcycle? Sermon? Hmmm. Sometimes even clear choices can be tough!

Speaking of tough, this has been a week of sad news. Our former minister of administration has been in the hospital this week. A painful back has turned into a much more serious diagnosis. Please pray for John and his family. I normally don't post medical information on the blog because of privacy issues. If you want more information, come to church tomorrow or email me privately.

Well ... back to work. Thanks for letting me take a little blog-break to clear my mind.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Feeling Relieved

For those of you who didn't happen to be at Grandview on Sunday morning (you can download the sermon HERE once the sermon is up on the website), I need to give a little background for this story. The subject of the sermon was the story of redemption ... the BIG story of redemption. I was arguing that the story of faith/redemption involves an almost unending series of question marks, followed by exclamation points. Will God deliver? God delivers! I began the story with Abraham and too briefly continued the pattern through the story of Israel, the life of Mary, and the life and death of Jesus [Cross (?) and Resurrection (!)].

To aid the telling of the pattern I used a visual aid. I had an 11x17 piece of paper with a question mark on one side and an exclamation point on the other.

After the first service our own Dr. (2b) Heather pulled me aside and said, "You need to know about a punctuation mark called the interrobang. It's a question mark and exclamation mark all in one!"

I thought that was really cool. I even mentioned the interrobang during the 11am service. I didn't, however, mention in the Table service. Why? Because I was overtaken with the fear that Dr. (2b) Heather was PULLING MY LEG!

What if she made it up, as a joke, and then I went up in front of a room full of people and started babbling about the "INTERROBANG?!" Fear seized me because it would have been an exceptionally funny hoax.

Thankfully Dr. (2b) Heather is a kind person. Her witness has now been confirmed by other witnesses ... and I have a new symbol for faith!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Take Your Pick

You can't tell much from the picture because my iPhone has no flash (no flash bulbs, nor does it handle webpage flash!), but this is a picture of Slade and Mihail in the burned remains of their home that caught on fire this past week. The house is in rough shape, but (as you can tell) the most important things are fine.
The sermon has come much easier this week. Redemption is so much more pleasant than Sin. I wrote a short fictional story for this sermon. I haven't done that in awhile. It was fun. I wish I hadn't gotten out of the habit.

Globalscope missionary Nathan McDade was supposed to lead our pastoral prayer this week, but he has been detained in Atlanta due to poor health. He has some flu-like symptoms, but NOT H1N1. Thanks to Mark Pratt (The Table) and Bob Hall (9:30 and 11) for stepping into the void. Here's a link to Bob's prayer: LINK TO BOB'S PRAYER.

One more thing, for those of you with time to kill. I've made two slideshows for the Update: State of the 'View event on August 16th. I'm not sure which one to use. The main difference is the songs, not the pictures. The first is a tobymac version. I like the feel of it, but there are some lines in the song that just don't work for the occasion ("My dad always said that I wish I was black."). The second version is our own Isaac Schade Band. I like the words, but the mood is a little more serious than celebrative.

I'll let the blog-followers decide. Vote in the comment line and the one you choose will be the one I use. If nobody votes then I'm not sure what I'll do!

Or this one:

Saturday, August 01, 2009


I'm blogging right now because the sermon isn't finished; at least, not the sermon I'm preaching tomorrow. I've written two this week, but neither of them were any good. The problem is that in my attempt to preach on the Big Picture of our faith, I've come to the sermon on sin and the fallen humanity we inhabit. And as of 3:15 pm on Saturday, I have no sermon (as indicated symbolically by the above picture).

I focused the first sermon in the series focused on hope. If we yearn for things that are not possible, we don't have hope; we have despair and depression. If, however, we yearn for things that God can and has accomplished, then we have hope. So ... that was the starting point. That can make for a happy sermon, one that even Joel Osteen would find appealing.

The second sermon in the series focused on creation; specifically, on why God created (and continues to create). I believe that creation is (as one has put it) an act befitting God's nature. I also believe that humanity is God's most excellent achievement in creation. After creating humanity and giving us our purpose on earth God said "It is very good," as opposed to the "it is good" statements he supplied after the other stages of creation. Sermons on how magnificent humanity is can leave people feeling really good, too. Joel could flash his handsome smile over that sermon.

The third sermon, though, is about sin, the fall, and evil. Man, oh, man...THIS one has been tough. The biggest problem is that I feel like I'm slitting peoples' wrists and then leaving them in the pews until we get to next week's sermon on redemption.

One of my problems is that I have too much material, personal and otherwise, from which to work when I talk about sin. The pulpit is no confessional, but a preacher dare not pretend he's not infected and afflicted with sin. Also, I've been haunted this week by a story out of Aleppo, Syria that four young men, ages 14, have been accused of raping a four-year-old girl. The story is tempting to use because there isn't a person I've met who could believe that such a thing could be classified as anything except sin and evil. But the story is too heavy and would make the rest of the sermon go unheard.

That's why I'm taking a break for blogging. I'm hoping that the solution will come to me as I type these thoughts.

Preachers ... it's late ... do know where your sermons are?

Thankfully, Bob Hall has finished his prayer preparation. If you're interested (and you really should be!), you can follow this link: Bob's Pastoral Prayer.