Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tomorrow's Offering

Tomorrow is the last in my series on commitment. I didn't plan this as well as I should have, because tomorrow is Pentecost. We can celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit tomorrow even though my series on the Spirit doesn't start until next Sunday. On each Sunday in June we will look at different Holy Spirit person from scripture. In order: King David, Simeon, Mary (the mother of Jesus), and the Apostle Paul. I'm very interested in what the Spirit actually did to and through these folks.

The word "spirit" has become so generic in our culture that it is beginning to fail as an effective word for communicating. Spirit can mean anything from alcohol to a person with reckless tendencies to an episode of Oprah. Throughout the series I will substitute other words based upon the Spirit's function in these people's lives. Holy Spirit will become Holy Presence, Holy Privilege, Holy Purpose, and Holy Power based upon these four great people from scripture.

I'm off to an inauspicious beginning, though, because in my newsletter article I wrote something that was just flat WRONG. That happens sometimes when you're in a hurry and you proofread for the wrong things. Grammar is important, but getting the story right is more important.

I wrote that the disciples, on Pentecost, spoke in their own language and were heard by people in the language those people heard. That sounds like I'm trying to deny the gift of SPEAKING in tongues, which (despite my inability to do so) I do not deny.

Monday, May 25, 2009


It was a good graduation weekend and I thought I'd share a few of my iPhone pics. There were many more pictures taken, but they were by real phones. These are just my quick shots.

Here I am turning my 5 copies of my dissertation into Dr. Lowe (my mentor). Thanks for everything, Dr. Lowe. I'm glad Dr. Andrews steered me in your direction.
My seat for graduation (which was a really good one because my seat was on the end, with nothing in front of me).My self-portrait just before graduation.

Robbie's gift was funny. He decided I needed a doctor's coat. Now we have to pray for Robbie as he enters into the dissertation process.I made sure to get a pic with Dr. Kalas, interim president, preaching professor, and just an all around fine man. Thanks for everything, Dr. Kalas.

How 'bout an arty shot with the iPhone? This is Travis enjoying a smile through the window from his beautiful little girl.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some Local Publicity

Johnson City Press' Allison Alfonso wrote a nice story on Betty Taber and her stained glass creations at Grandview. If you missed it, just follow this link. Below you can see pictures of Betty teaching our youth.Meghan with her nose to the grindstone.

A.J. in pieces ... bits and pieces.

Katy gets right to the point.

Jim is pulling things together.

Betty Taber and her helper, Jim Wise.

The proud teacher.

Some of the results.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Faith and Football

A good article on Wuerffel and Tebow in the Gainesville Sun: Click here.

What do Danny Wuerffel, Tim Tebow, and Steve Spurrier have in common? All three are Gator quarteback legends with Heisman trophies and clergy fathers. In his prime, Wuerffel used to put two hands together (like a prayer) after a touchdown pass. Some people thought it was a bit much, but time has shown he was sincere. He continues an urban based ministry in New Orleans today, long after his NFL career failed to launch. Tebow appears just as genuine. And, if you read the above story, they seem to be dragging Ohio State and ESPN's poor Kirk Herbstriet into service.

I know college football is a business. I know that athletes don't always take the most challenging classes (witnessed it first hand at UF). I know there are plenty of thugs and behavior issues in college sports (witnessed that second hand at UFl). But guys like Wuerffel and Tebow pull me back from my cynicism and remind me that it is possible to be a fan of good guys.

It's great. To be. A Florida Gator.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Assorted Pics

I haven't put many pics up lately, so here we go.

Here is a nice shot of the girls in front of the church and the newly green mountains of East Tennessee. The Spring green-up always refreshes my soul. Aaahhhhhh......If you want to try something fun at your house, try this: I took Cora's big Barbie head (it's for teaching girls to do hair and nails) and I placed her in a chair, using pillows for the body. Then just walk away. She will frighten the life out of you when you least expect it. I would walk into the house, forgetting that "Creeper" (that's what we started calling her) was there.

Try it. It's fun. The startle reflex can be a real thrill.

Speaking of creepy. When I took Meghan and her friend hiking on the Laurel Forks trail a couple of weeks ago, we stopped at Brown's Grocery and Hardware in Hampton. Apparently the Brown family is buried in the parking lot next to the store.

The weird part is that they made their grave a parking lot. Yup. They paved right over great grandpa and great grandma.

Cindy's Mom (Barbara) and Dad (Mike) came to visit last week. We went to lunch at Cora's school. Mike and I took turns embarrassing Cora. For some reason she didn't like me break dancing in front of her friends.

A week before that I went to Cora's school for the 5th Grade Tea, as they call it. The seniors in high school who attended her school came back and told them what they were doing after graduating. They also shared their favorite memories from their time in elementary school. Then they all sang "Pass it On."

Now, you might be wondering, how they got away with that. I know I was wondering as they began singing. I waited with great anticipation as the song reach the Christian campish line: "That's how it is with God's love ...."

They started just like you might think. "It only takes a spark/to get a fire going. And soon all those around/can warm up to it's glowing."

"That's how it is with ....

(wait for it)


Once you experience it ...."

Cindy's dad enjoyed the lush, green, Milligan campus.

And the amazing East Tennessee Children's Choir (of which Cora is a part).

Here he is cheesing with his granddaughter.

There we go. Slice of life.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Indy Opens

In Tennessee this morning it is a little chilly and a little rainy. I don't what it's like in Indy, but a chilly, rainy day in May can only mean on thing: It's time to open the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and begin practicing for the Indianapolis 500 (the greatest event in motorsports).

Now that most of my readers have clicked away from the blog (they aren't interested in racing like you and I are), can we talk?

This should be a really good year for the Indy 500. Helio Castroneves will garner headlines as the shoe who wins races, wins dancing with the stars, and beats the IRS in court. This guy is on a winning streak like racing has never seen. Scott Dixon has to be the favorite for the race; he started the season slowly but won the first oval race in Kansas and seems to be the best IndyCar has to offer. The list of possible winners is the same as usual, but here are the drivers we don't expect to win, but that I can't help but pull for:
Sarah Fisher: Sarah doesn't play the siren like Danica. She's a likable driver who has started her own racing team (along with her husband) and little by little they are trying to become a serious contender. Her sponsor is Dollar General Stores (if you shop there, tell them Sarah sent you!). That's so unlikely a sponsor that I find myself amazed that she's able to get a car in the race at all. Go Sarah!
Will Power's name is just too cool. He needs a good race because he won't have a job for much of the year if he doesn't finish strong (top 5?). He's a good racer from down under who stepped into the Penske car while Castroneves was on trial for tax evasion. When Castroneves was acquitted, Will was pretty much out of a ride. He'll get a shot at Indy and if he does exceptionally well, the sponsorship might come along to allow him to stay in the seat for the rest of the season.EJ Viso is a Venezuelean who drives for HVM Racing. He doesn't have much of a shot because the team isn't among the elite; however, he's a gutsy kid and a good interview. I can't help but pull for him. He hasn't even come close to winning a race, yet.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Tomorrow's Offering

Tomorrow's sermon begins a new series on commitment. We'll be looking at the Gadites and the Reubenites who didn't really want to enter the Promised Land with everyone else.

Returning today is the long, lost tradition of including the pastoral prayer in my blog. I haven't had much time to add these and I don't always get them before hand. Today's prayer-man is Bob Hall. Thanks, Bob.
Prayers of the Church for Grandview
3 May 2009

Praise be to the Lord, to God, Our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

Thank you, Father, for your great love. Thank you, Father, for your great commitment – a commitment so great that you made us in your own image; a commitment so great that you sent your beloved Son to die for us; a commitment so great that you promised eternal life for those who believe.

When we ponder your great commitment to us, it can take our breath away, it can bring us to our knees, it can make us cry out, “Oh Great and wondrous Lord”.

Even more, it can turn us to commit to you.

We commit our hearts to you, Father, that we may be examples of your love; soften our hearts to others and give us true charity; cleanse our hearts, Lord, of sinful desire and replace it with the desire to serve you.

We commit our souls to you, Father, that we may be dynamic, vibrant sewers of your Word. Let us not content ourselves with abstaining from evil-doing, but rather commit ourselves to well-doing, to active service in the name of Jesus. When our brothers and sisters cry out in anguish, let us be there to mend them, let us be there to support them, let us be there to love them in the name of the risen savior.

We commit our minds to you, Father, and step out in faith, faith that can move mountains. Help us refrain from rationalizing our lives in service of self. Help us fight against the earthly logic of personal pleasure at the expense of the world around us. Help us use the intelligence you have given us that all may know you and all experience the peaceful beauty of this world because of your great love.

We commit ourselves to you, Father, all of our beings. Use us in your service. Use us to further your kingdom.

Bless those who hate us for our faults and those who love us in spite of them. Remake us that they may see you and your goodness in us.

In the silence, God, hear our personal prayers of despair, of thanksgiving, of pain, of praise:

We ask special prayers today, gracious Lord, for Dennis and Fabienne Freeland and their family as they serve with others in JAARS to spread your word around the globe. Bless them and keep them.

We pray also for Crossroads Christian Church and their minister, Clint Andrews. Bless them as they work to strengthen your kingdom in the local area as well as other parts of the world that they support.

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