Friday, February 29, 2008

Calling for prayer

Hi all-
It's been a tremendously busy week and I'll be posting what's been happening probably on Sunday after work.

In the meantime, please hold up my friend Jane in your prayers. I received word this week (on Wednesday) that she is very ill and the doctors are still trying to figure out what is going on in her body. At this point it is still a mystery as to the source of the infection that is ravaging her body. I've attached the latest news from a friend so you can keep her before the Great Healer:

I talked to P. Jane is still doing poorly. She has a huge kidney stone, but they can't do ultrasound, b/c the meds and position she'd have to be in would be detrimental to her right now.

They still haven't found the source of the infection.

She has septicemia, which, according to the doctor, is an improvement for her. If her condition worsens, however, she will have to go on a ventilator and life support.

One side of her heart is enlarged, and they have to give her blood thinners for possible clots.

P also said that she needs to eat and drink more for tests the doctors want to run, but she's not doing so. There is a particular liquid she has to drink, and both he and S are trying to coax her into drinking it, at least enough for whatever test to be run. He also mentioned that she's still not getting much sleep.

The biggest prayer request, P said, is that they can nail down the source of the infection.

P. is going back to the hospital later, and I told him I'd call tomorrow for another update. He said he'd tell Jane that we love her and are praying for her.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday, February 08, 2008

Introducing the oPod!

Our 1st through 3rd grade class has spent the past unit on obedience and making right choices. My friend, who belongs to another denomination shared that in their primary education they refer to this process as "choosing the right." It is promoted through jewelry, music, and regular classroom and family reinforcement.But what if we were to bring the concept of "choosing the right" or "making good life choices" into the technological age? What would it possibly look like?

The assignment was somewhat tricky. Our students were requested to create a product that would help them obey and make good choices. Then, create a commercial explaining this product to the public. It took a bit of time to help them understand that the product could be something no one has thought of yet - most were had a challenge moving from general answers such as "the Bible", "my parents" and "the police" as things to help them obey; although great ideas. Finally someone said an i-pod, which led to the invention of the 'o-pod' which would download all the reminders they needed to hear daily and not stop playing them until they had finished/fulfilled the request. They, they came up with scenarios that they had challenges obeying and helped to refine the script. The results? You judge for yourself!!!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lent for the Non-Liturgical

Gain from the richness of liturgy, even if you're "proudly steeped in free church tradition."
by Elizabeth Diffin

A colleague wrote recently how his church, proudly steeped in free church tradition, was rediscovering the Christian calendar. In particular, a little Lenten liturgy had a profound impact on a people largely unacquainted with the Stations of the Cross.

Here the Lent-informed offer a few ideas for the less liturgical among us.

Embrace symbols. Lent is a time for quiet contemplation and grievance for sin. Decorate the sanctuary with cracked clay pots and jars to symbolize brokenness. Or give each member of your congregation a small piece of burlap to tear during a time of silent confession, as they did in Bible times.

Give it up. The traditional Lenten practice of "giving up" doesn't have to be restricted to food or drink. Encourage your congregation to give up time or money to a local charity. Others may want to abstain from eating out or from their daily latte and donate that money to missions.

Pare it back. The simplicity of Lent can also apply to our churches. Perhaps your worship music can be sung a cappella or the sanctuary's decorations placed in storage. One congregation closes the shutters on their windows during Lent, limiting the mental trips outdoors during the service. If you're really feeling radical, limit the number of extraneous church meetings during Lent. Can the church board postpone their meeting until the 40 days are up?

Explain the meaning. For those who didn't grow up in the church or who aren't familiar with liturgy, Lent has a number of unfamiliar traditions. Use a Sunday morning service to explain the ancient origins as well as some present-day applications. Congregation members can be recruited to share their own "Lent stories."

Reach out. Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, so why not use it to invite others to the holy day? Launch a Lenten Evangelism Campaign and encourage your congregation to give Easter invitations to their friends and neighbors. The most enthusiastic can aim for 40 invitations in 40 days.

Imitate the servant. Touch your neighbors by using the Saturdays of Lent to serve the community. Paint playground equipment, feed the homeless, or do yard work for the elderly. It's a chance for all ages to help out together.

Reconcile. Lent is the season of reconciliation between God and man. But man-to-man reconciliation is also important. This Lenten season, encourage congregants to reach out to at least one person they have wronged, or been wronged by, in the past. Then they can add the person to their prayer list for the rest of the year.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Zoom Zone Talk for February - Winners and Losers

Tomorrow's Zoom Zone Event (youth group for 4th & 5th Graders) is "Gladiator Night" after dinner (thanks to our awesome parent squad), games such as "Joust", "Assault" and "Power Ball", we'll have an ending devotional about Winning and Losing. Here is the clip we'll be using from "SURF's UP" and the devotional. Enjoy!

Winners and Losers What makes a winner?

Can you tell if someone's a winner by what they look like? How they act? What they think?

Sometimes we confuse winning with being a winner. There's a big difference. We are already winners because God has created each one of us. God's given us talents and gifts that are unique to each one. They fit us like a glove.

We all like the feeling that comes with winning. We like having people pat us on the back and say "Good work." We like the feeling of doing something great. But nobody likes a poor winner. How do you help "not" getting a big head? Remember that while you won, you may lose next time. We may practice and be the best at something but we're never guaranteed to always win.

Sometimes we'll lose. Even when we've done an outstanding job. So what happens when you lose?

Do you tell yourself how bad you are at whatever you did? No

Do you blame others for messing up? Nope

Do you whine? Pout? Oh please, say no.

Do you tease or make fun of others who didn't play or work as well as you? See the answers above.

It's important to remember that God doesn't make junk. It's not cool to talk down about yourself, others think they have permission to think that way about you as well! When you're tempted to think about yourself in a way that is negative; remember how God sees you. God sees you as someone full of potential, full of talent and loves you for who you are not what you do.

It takes time to figure out what you're good at, which means, you need to take some risks and try different things. And you need to practice. No one is perfect. The NY Giants will be the first to tell you that it is practice that helps a team succeed when the challenge is difficult.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. What's important is remembering that trophies and ribbons eventually lose their sparkle. The gifts and talents inside of you shine forever.