Thursday, June 07, 2007

Yeah Baby!!


And they said it only happened in Disney movies....

I tried to load a photo but blogger is not playing well with others. My favorite photo to come soon - hey you know who in Orange County - I want some confetti from the ceremony on Saturday!!!!

The first Californian team to ever win a Stanley Cup - gee I remember when they first were hatched in 1993 when I first moved to Southern California and some friends and I lived in the same complex as a couple of the little ducklings. My how time flies!

Okay LA Kings - what's up with you all?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Jericho has been renewed for a mid-season replacement! After an incredible "bring em back" campaign waged by the viewers of Jericho (a series based on the premise of what life would be like after the detonation of multiple nuclear bombs within the continental USA through the eyes of people living in Jericho, KS) bombarded CBS Execs with peanuts which was a tag line in the season finale episode uttered by Gerald McRaney prior to his untimely death in the ending moments of the ep. People decided to send bags of peanuts to CBS in protest of pulling the series off after what appeared to be an incredible cliff hanger episode. This afternoon CBS has announced that it will be bringing Jericho back for at least 7 eps and possibly more, looking at ways to enlarge the fanbase through the release of the first season on DVD to rerunning the series this summer. That could work, it was how I got into LOST during the first season.

There aren't too many series that I drop everything for, or TiVo regularly - but Jericho and LOST are the two that are "must watch" with UGLY BETTY running a close third. Kudos to the fans for keeping this one alive. Keep your word CBS...there are more peanuts waiting to be sent if need be.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Be Still and Know

It's finals week, and I am like most of my Fuller friends and acquaintances trying to pull everything together for classes. I have one paper down and still have another 10 page paper, 2 books yet to read and 3 reflections (1 page each). Thankfully this quarter no take home exams. Ministry wise this is a good week for finals to happen (did I just say that?) as there is not too much on the pressing items calendar so that is good. What is on the calendar is in the hands of trusted and responsible individuals.

I am so incredibly blessed to have met such wonderful individuals in the congregations that I have been a part of who understand that ministry is an outgrowth of the generousity and grace we have received from God. In their big and small ways they make their invaluable gift of service to their congregations.

Jan runs the Foodbank at a church in California. Each week she sees that the bags of food are put together, individuals have been coordinated to distribute, pick up food, bread etc. for over 50 families in the parish's region. She's been doing this for many many years.

Danny and Amanda were introduced to me this past year, both new to the community that I just left. Almost immediately they began to be greeters and ushers. You are in for a treat each week when you are welcomed graciously and enthusiastically by them. Tracy and Kathy, Anne and Dave, and others weekly share their gift of hospitality with visitors and regular attenders as well.

Delores and her team see to it that there is coffee, cookies, hot chocolate and assorted other things to help draw people closer into community after service.

Here at my new community, Nancy, Joyce, Chris and countless others who I do not all know yet - but you all know who they are!!! pour into the lives of our little ones each week. The children know and love each of you and when you are there in the classrooms they shine because they know that you are there just for them, not to only fill a spot.

Vince, Michelle, Cathy, Kendra, Vincent, Penny, Nan, Chris, Michelle, Tara, Lisa, Vicki, Pam, Linda, Janie, Morgan, Mary and many many many more have spent years sharing their love with children in the suburbs of Oregon. Anne, Karen, and their team created a mid week program that reinforced throughout the week God's love to our children. I know God will bring the right person for your community soon. Thanks for what you have done in the process, and for all the people who work with you in the ministry.

Each week as Ministers to Children we're faced with making sure that there are enough spaces filled with capable and caring individuals. We are checking and doublechecking all the rooms for safety needs and supplies, recruiting individuals for future classroom needs, matching gifts with needs and listening, loving and caring for those little lambs and their families that God has placed in our world. Sometimes you here more of what is going wrong than good according to an email I recently received from a fellow minister; sometimes the ministry you lead is not considered as pressing if the church is smaller; or you are finding it more difficult to keep up your work while tending to the needs of your own family, spouse and children. Then there are times when you are incredibly grateful as you look around as see the fruit of labor, love and tears that have been planted over the years finally bearing fruit. For all of those who are in ministry to children as the year winds down and summer begins - I share these words of encouragement.

Be Still and Know that I AM God.
Be Still and Know that I AM.
Be Still and Know.
Be Still.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

WOW It's was WoW weekend!

Time is flying by. I can't believe that I have just finished my third Sunday at my new church. SF Bay Area weather and life agree with me - there is just so much time and so little to do...wait, as Willie Wonka would say, "Strike that, reverse it."

I am now in my third week without any rain. Of course, I think Oregon has gone without rain for oh I don't know 3 weeks too so it may not be a fair thing to say. I spent last weekend in the City, going to see a play "Dead Certain" at the Off Market Theater. Think Misery with Kathy Bates as a parapalegic playwrite and you basically have the plot - minus James Caan being hurt in a car accident. But for free tickets who is going to complain? If you're ever looking for great opportunities you can check out type in your zip codes and weekly you'll get a list of what is happening in your neck of the woods.

Our summer curriculum started this morning, "Journey with Jesus." The decorating team for Children's Ministries was busy this week setting up 2 out of the 3 rooms in as close to Middle Eastern fashion as we could using what materials we have stored away - which is a LOT! This next week we'll be adding banners down the hallways and the big fishing boat scene in front of the room where the games will be played. The curriculum chosen was a rotational style - after worship the kids start off in one room for 20 minutes, then rotate through the other two at 20 minute intervals. We have "Samuel's House" which is where the lesson/story is presented by our Village Storyteller in costume of course...move to the Marketplace where games are played and lesson reinforced more and then to Bethlehem Village where crafts are created. Our missions fundraiser for the summer will be to purchase a goat to send to Macedonian Outreach which is connected to our church and other local churches here in the San Ramon Valley - think heifer project and you'll get one small slice of what MO does.

The first Sunday of every month is WoW Sunday. We have an AWESOME team of people that lead the kids in their own worship, a skit and discussion. The kids all start the first Sunday in the Youth Room and then move up to class so they have their own worship together at least once a month for the purposes/goal of community building. It's a wonderful balance having the kids in worship each Sunday and their own worship monthly. We juggled this Sunday with the schedule because when the calendar was planned a couple of months ago the decision hadn't been made to keep WoW going during the summer - the folks that run it didn't want to stop! Talk about dedication and love for the kids!!! Several of our kids were involved in a dance program this past quarter called "Dancing Graces" and they premiered their first dance in public worship this morning. 2 first graders and 2 fourth graders (one a guy - go dawg!) Using "soldiers" by Out of Eden they shared 4 minutes of movement and dance with the congregation. The congregation encouraged the kids from the moment they hit the floor/platform with cheers and instant clapping - our kids dancing in the back to the beat of the music. It fueled the kids energy they told me afterwards. At one point in the middle - around the bridge, the music slows completely down and the kids came from the four corners of the church to the front of the altar lifting their hands in praise slowly. Then, each of them in succession joined the first dancer in a choreographed movement. It was a beautiful opportunity to focus attention on the Lord's Supper and draw back into worship any focus that might have been straying. The song ended to a stampede of applause and support for the kids and their choreographer Ms. Jenny who did an outstanding job. I'm hoping that we might be able to get some more kids to join the group and premiere their first worship offering for our 10th anniversary service in mid September.

Summer schedule is nearly staffed. I made oodles of calls this past week and had only 2 individuals say they couldn't because one is moving and the other has a family member that is in poor health. VBS is doing awesome - I'm going to focus on the preschool and we have our final teachers all lined up for our program already. Elementary is about 3/4's staffed. Our meeting a week ago had 1 7 people (all leaders) attending which was the first BIG VBS meeting of the season. I have the distinct honor and privilege to add these individuals to the many additional people I knew in OR and So CA who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to the spiritual nurture of children. I have been truly blessed to see that the next generation of children will be given the tools to live in the ever changing post modern world they've been born into.

Housing is all set - I move this next weekend into a nice townhouse. My roommate is the Jr. High Director for the church from which we were planted. Just found out that Eugene O'Neil is from Danville, CA and there is a home and weekend dedicated to him each September. This year they are going to premiere "The Iceman Cometh" with a discussion at the end. Guess who has that marked in their calendar already? I'm slowly learning where all the main streets are and also figuring out where all the In-N-Outs are so I can go by them quickly. So far the pounds are falling off of me since I arrived here and I plan on keeping the scales going in that downward direction.

Well, this diversion was a needed relief, now it is time to go back to the books and finish my homework for the week. Finals are this coming week and I have about half of my work still outstanding on my paper. Oy, I can see a late night in my future.