Connected (Part 3)

I am really a nerd in so many ways (my sense of humor and selection of computer are no exception).  I am a PC guy who would love to be in the Mac world, but they just don’t play well together.  Many poeple say that they do but until you have a mixed network of Mac and PC machines you will realize that they don’t (not to mention that you would always have to purchase 2x the software).

The problem is that they two different computers don’t speak the same language.  Even files created in equivalent programs on the different platforms don’t always translate and play nice together.

The last Connected post I wrote was about the way that creeds bind us together, but there is also the pitfall in that they can separate and drive a wedge between poeple if we look at them as creating insiders and outsider, Christian and non-Christian, or in a bit more polarizing language “saved” and “unsaved”.

When the insiders create fences and build walls sometimes doors are not installed, so insiders remain insiders and outsiders remain outsiders and they don’t connect.  As the church we must always be opening the doors to everyone.  We are called to invite others into the Good News and new way of life that God has opened up to The Whole World through the life death and resurrection of Jesus.

We are all looking to live lived us purpose and that have meaning.  So as we enter into living life abundant, we must not only leave the door open for others, but welcome them in with language, service and hospitality that resonates with their hearts.

Connected (Part 2)

As our confirmation class wrapped up this past weekend we (the whole gathered body) joined in one voice and read The Apostle’s Creed.  We don’t often join in unison creeds, but there is some real value in being together in uniting together in this way.

Creeds allow us to understand what it is that we believe and affirm as Christians.  It allows us to draw from our common history, and tradition.  Creeds seem a great way to boil down our faith to the most core beliefs.  They are not intended to keep others out (more on that on part 3), but rather for the Catholic (universal) church to find unity.

This past weekend the scripture was John 17:20-26.  Here Jesus is praying for not only his disciples, but all of those who will come and hear the gospel through their ministry.  Unity of the church is one of the most powerful ways that we can witness to the Good New.

The bad news is that time and time again we (the church) play like we are on opposing teams.  Like church softball, but not just for fun.  In this way we turn many people off from church and likewise from them hearing and treasuring the Good News.  We need to remember that we are on the same team.  We can play and have conversation and disagree, but we must not lose sight of the fact 9perhaps one of the most important fact) that we need to stand united in the name of Christ.  We must be One Church Connected for the glory of God.

Moose Heads and Spruce Trees

This weekend was packed with a little bit of everything.  A true triumph for our young adults is that they finally unveiled their mascot in the play room at church.  I am hoping that his we settle on his name being Dan because Dan Kimbal’s curriculum “they like Jesus, but not the church” inspired the iconic quadruped. 

We also had 19 confirmands join the church and 4 were baptized.  I love confirmation Sunday.  They write their own personal creeds, make banners and stoles and it is really a fun weekend.  I really feel blessed by hearing and seeing the way their faith shapes their lives.  Also I see God a bit differently after each class through their perspectives and the youth that God places under my care through this program.  Also the class got a tree (blue Spruce) in my honor that is in our prayer garden…soooo fitting.  We even had one of our High Schoolers preach at the confirmation service.  She was awesome.

I tried a new preaching style that Jim Walker from hot Metal Bridge church taught about at a worship conference.  It was way fun.  It was a narrative approach.  I don’t know if it was good or not, but I loved preaching the as a story teller rather than a traditional 3 part lecturer. Check it out:

Sermon May 16, 2010 from Middletown United Methodist Ch on Vimeo.

Middletown United Methodist Church is located at 7108 Fern Circle, Middletown, Maryland 21769.
Our worship times are 5:00pm on Saturdays. Sunday worship times are 8:30am, 9:45am and 11:00am.
Please join us or follow us on our website.

Join us for worship and special activities all year long, check our website at mtownumc.org for times and activities

Connected (Part 1)

We have so many connections in our lives we don’t know what to do with them all.  On my birthday a couple of days ago I literally had hundreds of facebook wall posts, text messages, emails, cards, phone calls…. to wish me a good day.  In the same vain we neglect a great number of those connections while nurturing others.

Sometimes connections are just greater for some rather than others.  As I have been Reading Philip Yancy’s book “Prayer” (My first Yancy book ever that I can remember) something in the very beginning of the book caught my attention.  He writes that Prayer is, “a privilege and not a duty.”

I let that simmer for a bit as I thought about the way that I approach prayer.  I through about the conversations we had at Monday night small group about prayer and some of the primal questions the act of prayer brings with it.  Though there may be questions about prayer, there is also this overarching understanding that our connection with God does not in any way have to be the way that it is.

There is a connection that is made through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that opens the door and the Holy Spirit then becomes the conduit for connection (or cell tower with full bars all of the time).  All we need to do is to plug in and get connected.

Prayer should not be looked on a a duty but as a relationship that takes discipline (like any other) so that it may grow.  Prayer offers an avenue for the veil between God and humanity to drop so that we might catch a glimpse of God in a new light.  Prayer allows us to take a break from the fast paced world where we feel we have to do everything.  It is an invitation to put down our baggage (if just for a bit) in hopes that we leave with less than what we came with.  Prayer is a way that we can be reminded of the grandness of the world is larger than just the slice of creation (or stack of mundane to-dos) that we have right in front of us at the moment.  It allow us to step back and see life from a different point of view.  It allows us to be us and lets God be God.

Best Bible App: YouVersion.com

I am totally a cheapskate when it comes to software and have a hard time paying for something that I can get as a free or open source version.  When I got my ipod one of the things that I went looking for was a good (free) Bible app so that I could have something with me all of the time.

The folks at Livechurch.tv are a really great resource, and so when I saw that they had put out a Bible app I was all over it.  Best part is that it is…that’s right free.  There are a ton of different versions of the bible you can reference and a wide array of languages.  You can get the full library if you are connected to the web (wi-fi or 3g), but you can also download a number of the translations to your device.  It also has daily reading plans that you can follow, comments and discusions and customization.  The app is available for just about everything out there iphone, andriod phones, palm, your web browser and the list goes on.

I am finally posting about it because a couple of days ago I realized that one of the versions I can download to my Ipod is the New Living Translation which has become one of my favorite’s to teach from for youth group and classes where poeple are getting into scripture for the first time. Also, I am going to be upgrading my phone soon and this app would be compatible with most options so i am excited about that too.

Check it out, there is nothing to lose…did I mention it is free.  Go to youversion.com to get your hands on it.

My Bday post

So Katie and I saw this yesterday and I thought that it would be a perfect post as it is my B-day.  This video is hilarious.  The part that got me was in the beginning they has a binky on a string and at one point when i still had the Explorer I had a carabiner with a binky hanging from my rear-view mirror.

This is so us in a couple of years. Ahhhh who am i trying to kid?  This is totally us now (minus the minivan).  Now the only thing left to do is embrace it!!!! Enjoy.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ql-N3F1FhW4

ABC Hunt

Our family had the best adventure day on Friday.  We went to downtown Frederick and were on an ABC scavenger hunt.  This was all under the guise to get Eden to recognize letters in a different way, but in reality Katie and I just wanted an excuse to play in Frederick and away from packing boxes.

We did some hard work taking pictures so that we could make a collage of all of the letters wen we got home.  We went to carol creek, the library, and had lunch at five guys (though letters were not the focus there).

Such a great time with the girls.  What a great idea (from Katie or course).

you can read Katie’s telling of the tail right here at her blog

Here are some of the pics of the adventure