Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Morning Reflections

This past weekend was our city's 'Summerfest,' and our once a year custom of buying bag[S] of kettle korn was carried on!

Our three little grandkids from the Big City East came over to spend Saturday afternoon with Gram/Gramps. Thanks Daughter & Son for bringing them, and enjoying a birthday party for Gram. ...... and of course with grandkids at 'Summerfest' that meant we had to purchase more goodies and Cotton Candy!

Also at 'Summerfest' I purchased a book from an Up-north author Chris Zimmerman, 'the Secret- Keeper.' I am looking forward to reading this adventure as soon as I get caught up on my stack of other reading books. Here's the lead-in on the back cover:
'By the time he realized that his wife's killer was in his grasp, it was too late. By the time he ran for help, they had chased him from Hemingway's Walloon Lake to the sultry sands of the Caribbean. Snubbed by the authorities, scorned by his parents, he turns to the woman of his future with links to his past. They all had a secret to tell: they all had a secret to keep.'

[from] In the story of Theseus and the Minotaur [tale from ancient Greece] after Theseus has slain the beast in the center of the underground labyrinth, he guides himself back to the surface by a length of thread give to him by Ariadne, the king's daughter, retracing his steps through the dark maze of tunnels.
Where is the thread for us?
Where are those sanctuaries-people or place-that help us to remember who we are and those parts of us that have not gone to sleep? Where [and how] do we give ourselves the permission to hang on to that thread- and embrace the present?

End of Two Grim Fairy Tales
[The Washington Times/Monday/Aug.31.09/Andrew Breitbart]

This article is about the deaths of Sen. Edward Kennedy and Michael Jackson. The author obviously is a fan of neither, however he raises questions, that regardless of party affiliations each and every citizen should ask. Does our culture make heroes out of those who charm and skills we wish we had? Have we placed these heroes on pedestals and readily forgiven them deeds the rest of us would suffer ruination from? Are we so desperate for heroes we close our eyes to things that might mare the prism through which we view them? I believe that often in giving proper credit to those who have passed we run the risk of seeing through blinders. But neither do we want to cowardly heap coals on those who no longer have life among us. Just some thoughts to start the day, below is the website if you'd like to read the article ...... I'm certainly open to any thoughtful comments.

Have a pleasant day, and God's blessings upon you!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

America Is Not a Christian Nation, It is a Nation because of its Christians.

A lot has been made of our President's remarks that America is not a Christian nation. Perhaps there is much more truth in that statement than we in Christendom want to acknowledge. While reading the book 'From Achilles to Christ' I came across this portion tonight that took me back to the president's statement.

Much debate has been raised in our country about whether America is primarily the product of secular Enlightenment thought or Judeo-Christian values and beliefs. Perhaps the best solution to this impasse is to acknowledge the secular roots of much of our democratic system while remembering that the only reason that our system works is that it is built on a body of citizens who are mostly Christians and therefore morally self-regulating. That is to say, if America were ever to lose her grounding in Christian morality, her governmental systems would eventually collapse from within. [p.88]

I must say I believe it is far easier for many Christians to blame what they see as an increasingly godless government for their lack of commitment than themselves. When we look back on our countries history it is tempting to forget that it was the 'personal' faith of many founding fathers that lead our country into following moral values; these morals values didn't just fall from the sky. Hence we're not to take our cue from culture, but culture is to take its cue from godly men and women first devoted to Christ. Maybe, just maybe [and perhaps even unbeknown to himself] our president was on the precipice of a truth that God has been trying to show to us all along ...... makes you think doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Goodbye Teddy

Well its time to go to bed; I've finished watching two documentaries on Teddy Kennedy. What struck me so much about both of them was the balanced reporting that was done. One reporter called his life Shakespearean in triumph and tragedy, while another one called him the lion for the poor, disadvantaged and disenfranchised. There will be many who insist that being born of privilege makes it so much easier to be gracious and giving, though I don't think that's correct. I was never a Kennedy fan, probably because I grew up in a Republican bastion; but as I watched and listened I was reminded that we, those of us who call ourselves Christians, should be in the front lines of those who are speaking out for the poor and disadvantaged, we should challenging those who insist on widening the gap between the haves and have nots. We should be demanding justice for every man; not because we want to be politically empowered but because we believe that all men/women are created equal in the eyes of their Creator ... and that He loves each of us the same, and if we love him as we proclaim then we will love those he loves!
If there's anything that Teddy's life has taught me its that work for the betterment of all humankind is never done even when our life here is and while we have breath we should constantly be serving and working for others.. I suppose like a lot of you I'll continue to watch the ongoing events and hear more eulogies about his life, only now I will be listening for the lessons that I need to hear to make my life more beneficial for others.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Week of Birthdays

I love birthday celebrations because I get to act like a child and enjoy them! This week we celebrated [long distance] the birthdays of our Son-In-Law, and our youngest granddaughter in the Big City in the far-off Northeast! Also today is the birthday of SWCOBL [She Who Can Only Be Loved].

In other news, this morning I read an article on 'Facebook' which has some thoughts in it that describe why I'm not a facebook fan; now I know some of you are .... in either case you might like to read the article [and 93 comments] found at ...
[I specifically linked the above birthdays, in the same article, with the above opinoin on Facebook to get a reply from you ..... don't disappoint me!]
Have a really great day with our Creator!

Lassoing that Cord

This weekend I am honored to officiate at a wedding ceremony. The groom is Roman Catholic and the bride is Protestant. They have asked me to incorporate a 'lasso' ceremony in it. Now I admit my complete ignorance in this tradition, I've never heard of it before. After some research I am finding it quite an enriching segment to a wedding. One can use a lasso [which is a piece of decorated rope] or a rosary - and that's one looooooooooooooooong rosary since its suppose to be almost 8ft long so that it drapes over the groom and brides shoulders and hangs
loose so not to encumber them during the ceremony.

As this lasso is draped first over the grooms shoulders it is then turned into a figure "8" [the symbol for infinity] and then draped over the bride's shoulder after they have exchanged their
vows. Eventually this lasso is removed and given to the groom to present to the bride; a promise of his love and fidelity toward her both in his heart and in his home. This lasso also
represents the Groom's responsibility to protect his bride throughout their union.

It reminded me of how God invites us to accept his Holy Spirit in all our relationships, both with him and others, especially our spouse. Allowing the Holy Spirit to be the tie that bonds us to others, to be protector of our relationship[s] and grantee of an eternal home with God.

My research in this area linked me to the Three-cord ceremony. In this ceremony the groom holds a small metal ring, to which three beautiful strands are attached [Gold - God; Purple - Groom; White - Bride] and the bride braids the strands together. This can be braided as one special event, or at different points in the ceremony the bride can work the braiding to be concluded as clergy pronounces them husband and wife, then the groom presents it to the bride after they've been introduced to their company. This ceremony is taken from Ecclesiastes 4:12 and reminds us that a marriage centered around Christ is so much stronger, and richer, than a
wedding being held together by just two individuals.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Am A Proud Owner of .....

An appendix! According to a recent scientific discovery, the appendix long [check the photo for how long it really is] thought to be nothing more than useless, turns out to be one of our body's most effect disease fighters, and maker & trainer of white blood cells .... and I still have mine. 'Maybe it's time to change the textbooks,' says researcher William Parker of Duke Univ. Med. Center. You can find the article at
Makes you wonder what else someone might be missing that was thought to be useless by science?

Tales from Indian Valley

2009 Nazarene Men's Retreat
A personal recollection
Who hasn't enjoyed a good fishing or hunting story; you know the huge fish that got away or broke your line; or the biggest buck you've ever seen that was immune to your buckshot or arrow. Well this morning I've got some tales from the campsite. They originate from true experiences, its just that with time and memory, like all of us, they've matured. I will try to tell them in chronological order so long as that portion of my memory serves me.

We arrived at Indian Valley and began setting up our tents and organizing our provisions. Dale pulled his fifth-wheeler into his small camping space like a pro on the very first attempt; those of us watching interpreted this as a very good sign. We had no idea what the sign was linked with, just that it was a harbinger of good things to follow. Dave arrived soon after, and dropped off his canoe then proceeded to the big city north for an extended family visit. It was getting later, or at least quite dark and we began to worry that maybe he had gotten lost on the way back, which is somewhat akin to the chances of your compass magnet just falling out, later on three canoe trips Dave would prove his directional skills.

Dropping back in time a few hours [there goes my chronological intentions] when it was lighter out and some of us were preparing our fishing poles Rob regaled us with how far he could cast. We gave him a pretty hard time and he recanted on some of the distance, but in the days ahead Rob would prove his casting somewhat unique. Evidently sometime during Rob's past fishing experiences he came to believe that catching fish was a whole lot easier if you cast your line into the water resting it about midpoint over a tree branch ... later when he illustrated this for us we thought at first it was an accident, but Rob went on to prove numerous times it really was a style he preferred and was proficient at. Kevin tried it once, but got discouraged and went back to his old tried/tested way of casting. I tried as best I could to place my line on the branch of a tree on the bank across the river but couldn't quite reach it, the distance which was a piece of cake for Rob. However, I must add, with some pride, Kevin and I were able to catch 2 fish apiece, although Dick contends their lack of length didn't qualify them as fish. Kevin caught one of his after most of us had gone to sleep, so that remains an 'unverified' catch.

A fisherman in the camping lot next to ours caught a really good size carp,[later he also caught a turtle too] and this inspired Kevin to fish the way our new friend was. It required a simple cast, compared to Rob highly developed technique, and rested the bait on the river bottom. Now Kevin was using a corn kernel and piece of hot dog for bait [which to a carp is like steak]. He made the miscalculation of resting his pole on a thin branch [not in the tree], then sitting in a camp chair to watch it. Zap, without warning, Kevin's pole left the branch, jumped the bank and sunk into the water. Fortunately for Kevin, his pole got stuck in the mucky, tree root bottom and this fish couldn't drag it further. So waist-deep in the river Kevin finally fished the pole out, meanwhile the huge fish took the bait and went laughing on its way. That had to be one soggy lunch - water soaked hot dog and kernel of corn - what was that fishing thinking?

Saturday morning Dave announced he was going to take a nine mile canoe trip and asked if anyone would like to go with him. Rob immediately volunteered. I waited a while and no one else wanted to go, so I thought how bad could it get with these two seasoned outdoorsmen? Dave's excellent sense of direction and knowledge of the river and Rob's scouting experience and having canoed this river before - what could go wrong? I learned a very valuable lesson, 'never ask a question you don't truly want to know the answer to.' Randy was a gracious host and let us put the canoe in his pick-up and then he took us to the starting point on our trip. My first indication that I might want to turn back came when I attempted to get into the canoe. [Later Rob and Dave would both confess they suppressed their anticipations of what I was going to do] What we didn't know was that Randy, after watching all this, returned to the camp and was willing to bet anyone $50 we'd never make it 200 yards without tipping over ... I'm glad no one bet him because I'm sure he would have lost, I know we were a little over 200 yards before I swamped us.

Now Dave and Rob are two of the most gracious seafarers you've ever known. They kept reassuring me everyone who canoes capsizes from time to time, but knowing them its hard to visualize either ever being guilty of swamping a canoe. And so there I sat, on the middle seat, six inches higher than anyone else, which should have given me a better view of the river. As I was trying to get situated Dave said the biggest temptation would be to overcompensate when you felt drawn to one side, my issue was more about being stable than balance, I figure balance comes from being grounded. But Dave was right, and I succumbed to temptation. We came to a bend in the river and there before us were the rapids, [to be accurate they were ripples] but when you're trying not to tip a canoe they look like rapids and there at that hallowed spot we were all baptized. Fortunately for me, Dave and Rob never let loose of their humor as I lost possession of my glasses. Also I had forgotten and left my cell phone in my pocket ... it was on vibrate and for the rest of the canoe trip its constant vibration reminded me of my wilderness sin.

Gettng back into the canoe I now sat on the bottom, resting my back on the seat and we become much more stable [and yes, Dave, more balanced]. Still I felt like an over-sized, water-logged barge of cargo weighing down Dave and Rob. Rob, ever-sensitive to my demoralized ego, shortly proclaims, with excitement, there's an eagle, and Dave remarks about how pretty it is and what a unique experience to see one. Without my glasses I'm having trouble seeing the riverbanks let alone our national symbol majestically displaying itself. Further up the river Rob comments on the business wisdom of landowners to place 'for sale' signs on the river banks so
water travelers could see them. Incidentally, Dave was to make two more river trips and both times comes back dry - no spills.

On a more spiritual note we learned that our men's group has a very talented group of Wheezers! There are a few especially talented in this art that could probably, with practice, be able to offer some specials in AM worship. Kevin on lead, Brian harmonizing with teno and/or alto [his tenor is somewhat off-key though] Dale on bass and Dave on either alto or baritone. All of these men having willingly admitted they were wheezers, and probably easily would qualify for the quartet; Dave, being a bit more shy, still is a little less confident. Dave himself was quite amazed to find out that added to his many talents he can wheeze. What brought this gift to his attention is a story in itself. Arriving at camp late Friday night, as I stated earlier, he decided not to pitch his tent. Rob had plenty of space of in his son's tent, but Dave didn't want to disturb Rob's own attempts to practice and possibly qualify for the quartet, so he slept in his van. Saturday night though, after getting to know Rob a little better that day, and on the canoeing trip, and confident that he wouldn't disrupt Rob's musical quest, Dave decided to sleep in his tent. I personally think his prior night in the van was the determining factor. Dave retired earlier than Rob and was sound sleep by the time Rob later approached the tent. Robs says that as he approached he heard strange sounds coming from his tent. He was pretty sure Dave had said he was spending the night in the tent, but also recalled that Dave said he didn't know how to wheeze ... now this is a mystery, who is in the tent? Upon tentatively opening the flap, Rob discovered Dave was wheezing, and it was a higher quality [or volume, I'm not really sure at this point] than Rob had ever achieved .. this could lessen Rob's chances to make the quartet. The look on Dave's face the next morning when Rob shared with us Dave's new gift was one of those 'hallmark' moments. Not wanting to appear prideful Dave insisted Rob must have heard someone else.

Perhaps he had heard Brian rehearsing, for about 2AM Sunday in the midst of Brian's practicing , Randy was so emotionally moved he couldn't stay in the tent with Brian and me, and slept the rest of the early morning hours in his pickup. Finally Dave admitted that years earlier his wife had suggested he had this wheezing talent. The news of this new gift was so over-whelmng [and still is] that Dave believes a second opinion might prove both his wife and Rob, [wait a minute, that is two opinions] are somewhat delusional.

There are probably more stories to be shared but right now I can't recall them; perhaps one of the others on that retreat will come forward and share with us. Lest you think the retreat was only about great food, fun experiences and an around good time, we had some spiritual moments that enriched our souls. I shared some inspirational thoughts on the relationship of Jonathon and David, and we sang and shared. The sharing was so rich, I'm going to leave in the souls of the men around that campsite. [I tried to share with the congregation Sunday pm, but failed; though I want to personally thank Bryan C. who put together a video presentation of our retreat that our congregation enjoyed]There is something sacred, special and intimate that would be diminished if I attempted to share those remarks. Something like an event that you have experienced, something about 'being there in person' that gets lost in translation when later trying to describe it.

I believe Carl summed it up when he said that there is something about the time men spend together in fellowship, sharing experiences and life stories that draws us closer together. WOW, how right he is.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Let the Retreat Begin......

Today is the first day of our Men's Retreat!!!! So I will probably return to this blogsite later Sunday night .............. have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Old Rugged Cross

I've learned that a little over an hour from where I live is the original church in which the hymn 'The Old Rugged Cross' was sung for the first time. A Rev. Bennard, who started out in the Salvation Army, became an ordained evangelist in the United Methodist Church.

He wrote many hymns, but his most famous hymn took quite some time to complete. Finally in a revival series, at Pokagon MI, he was able to pick out the last notes to the song on his guitar. One of our church families took a tour there only a couple of weeks ago. A huge restoration project is under way, and it is officially a Michigan Historic Site! Hopefully when the site is completed we'll be able to take a group of Senior's there to view it. I would encourage you to go to the site and be enriched by this awesome story!

My menu

For Men's Retreat this weekend I'm responsible for a light lunch on Sunday after we have our AM service around the campfire ................... so, here it is
Grilled chicken [w/the Bobby Flay spice recipe]
Boiled corn on the cob
Mixed Vegetable skewers [with Emeril spice recipe] Vegetables: Yellow Pepper, Cucumber, Mushrooms, Pineapple, Plum Tomatoes Spices: Paprika, Parsley, Ground Coriander, Onion Pwder, Garlic Pwder, Celery Salt, Black Pepper, Oregano, Basil, Thyme and Kosher Salt.
......then Rob Smelker is making us a dutch-oven dessert of White Cake & Apple filling.

Waxing Philosphical

For some unknown reason I feel philosophical this morning, and so I'm going share some thoughts. Wednesday America's largest Lutheran denomination voted , by the narrowest of margins [meaning they got exactly the number needed [2/3] to pass the measure] to approve a theological statement on human sexuality that loosens church teaching on homosexuality. I guess the 2/3 that voted for the resolution didn't notice what happened to the Episcopal congregation when like measures were passed. So a double-danger exists; first, making God's commands accommodate our cultural mores is really thin ice, some might even say such action leads to where there is no ice .... and second, its always dangerous when trying to accommodate all views, especially in the church. The gospel is not about accommodation but transformation.
Only a couple hours before the vote, everyone at the convention was moved to a safer location because a tornado struck the Central Lutheran Church across the street, ripping down part of a
90yr. old steel cross. What does nature have to do with it?

In another article by the Washington Post the observation is made that there seems to be a lack of resolve both in the President's administration and Congress. I was reminded that as a Christian I need to....
...resolve to believe and obey Jesus Christ
...resolve to follow Him regardless of other voices calling me elsewhere
...resolve to be a faithful witness when he presents me with opportunities.
Ah, resolve, its such a decisive action in a world that prefers accommodation and being relevant.
tomorrow: Men's retreat!!! I resolve to catch two dozen large crappies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

3 1/2 days to Men's Retreat!!!!

Eyewitness to Power: Essence of Leadership from Nixon to Clinton

I've finished reading David Gergen's book on leadership, and he has done a good job in pointing out the positive leadership skills of Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. He has also pointed out some of their weaknesses so today's leadership might learn from them. At the end of the book he gives seven leadership skills to be learned overall:
1. Leadership starts from within
2. Need for a Central, Compelling Purpose
3. A Capacity to Persuade
4. Ability to Work within the System
5. A Sure, Quick Start
6. Strong, Prudent Advisors
7. Inspiring Others to Carry On the Mission.
I've truly enjoyed reading this book.
Gergen, David. Simon & Schuster Books. New York, New York ISBN 9780743203227


This morning Robert Novak, a well-known columnist, who wrote for the late Sun-Times and spearheaded two innovative news/talk shows on CNN passed away. His advise I will remember the longest was this, 'Always love your country - but never trust your government. In other words remember that a government that has too much power, can not only give you everything but take everything away also.'

Last Night's Clash of the Gods

Last night's History segment, 'Clash of the Gods,' featured Hades, the Custodian God of the Underworld. It was interesting that they concluded with Hades own death prophesied in the Book of Revelations. There was also a segment where Orpheus, the great musician, went to hell to make a deal with Hades to let his wife go back to the earth and the living with him. Orpheus played so well that even Hades shed tears and agreed to let him take his wife back under one condition ............ 'as Orpheus left hell and returned to earth, he must never look behind to see his wife Eurydice. Making his way back to the living Orpheus was tempted to look behind himself so badly because he couldn't be sure that Hades wasn't playing a trick on him, just as he is about to step into the land of the living, Orpheus couldn't resist and turned around, and as his eyes fastened on his wife Hades reclaimed her ..... this has a parallel in scripture to Lot and his wife; when she turned to look back on Sodom turned into a pillar of salt.

So Sure???

'What makes you so sure God wants credit for your successes?' [I Corinthians 10:31]

Monday, August 17, 2009

She Who Must Be Loved

My wife returned home last night from her weekend trip to see her mother in Illinois. It was her mother's birthday his past Sunday, and also she and her siblings had a gravesite remembrance service for her older sister that died this past May. It is amazing how we grow so much closer together almost unconsciously, I truly missed just her presence being near me. IN many ways I guess the old saying has some merit, "absence makes the heart grow fonder!" Well, she's home and she's safe and I'm again returning to normal.

On another note, this weekend [friday through sunday] it will be men's camping retreat. There is something wonderfully primal about a group of men camping out by a river, reminicing about how the 2 inch blue gill that got away fought like a 12lb bass; how a harmless garder snake encounter turned into an escape from a killer-rattler; and how the eyes of a deer at night surely must have been the face of a fabled grizzly loose in the area; how the eery sound of an owl was surely proof of a cougar straying just a little too close to camp for comfort; and how often food that normally would be viewed as commonplace takes on the aroma and taste of absolute grill glory. Can't wait, only 4 1/2 days.

I've been watching a new series on the History channel; 'The Clash of the Gods' and it has captured my attention. I'm thinking about writing an extensive paper on how these Greek myths are proof that while God was chosing Israel to be the nation to eventually take his salvation gospel, through Jesus Christ, to the world .... God was also working through gentile cultures and their stories of myth to prepare them. I don't think I'm that far off, surely Plato, Aristole and the other gentile philosophers didn't come up with their edgy [nearly divine] thoughts on their own; and Paul's encounter with the scholars on Mars Hill [Acts 17:16-34] leads me to the audacity to think Paul might be cheering me on. The first episode about Zeus, the primary God, was extremely interesting and I gained many thoughts about the compatibility, rather than conflict of mythology and the gospel [especially the gospel of Mark]; and this last segment on Hercules had so many things that could relate to God's son Jesus Christ. I'm so excited by this possibility, but don't be hesitant to disagree with me, I welcome that also. I'm including a history channel schedule just in case you're interested - watch it with an open mind!
Zeus - 8/3 [that's his picture in article]
Hercules - 8/10 [second statue; note the lion skin over him]
Odyssey [1] - 8/17
Odyssey [2] -8/24
Hades - 8/31
Medina - 9/7
Thor - 9/14
Lord of the Rings - 9/21
Minotaur - 9/28
Beowulf - 10/5
If you miss these shows you can see reruns on Sunday nights @11PM [which is when I usually view them].

Well, I best close and get some work done today.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fruit Soup

At lunch today I made a 'fruit soup' from the Paula Deen food show. The recipe will be in my food section. Its a good recipe but there are a few things I would like to stress. First, don't serve it as a soup, but a chilled dessert. Second, try your very best to use only 'fresh' fruit. Third, don't, don't, 'blend' the liquid with the cooked fruit - makes it way too soupy; I put some of the left over liquid in the refrigerator in a glass for later. Fourth, next time I make this I'm going to add a kiwi. Fifth, I'm going to serve it tonight after supper with a scoop of ice cream and some homemade whip cream and a strawberrry on top! It was fun and very simple to make, and without the ice cream and whip cream very, very healthy.

p.s ..... make sure you let it freeze; its definitely better frozen!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Julie & Julia

This week my wife and I, on our date night, saw the movie Julie & Julia. We both loved the movie, one of the things it highlighted was that both spouses can have careers and still build an intimacy in their marriage; Julie's story addressed how careers can come in conflict but can be worked out when the relationship takes priority over indivudalism. I know that I for one did not know the deep intimate love relationship that Julia Childs and her husband had. There is a little rough language and some suggestive scenes [although within the marriage realm these are perfectly acceptable]; so it would be wise for viewers to be older. I loved the story because of the context in which it was written - writing a blog on an adventure!!

List of Leadership Books

Here is my current list of 'Leadership' books that I'm tackling..
1]"Leadership from the Inside Out" [with the Church Board] Harney, Kevin. Grand Rapids, MI., Zondervan Publishing Co., 2007 ISBN: 9780310259435
2]"Holy Leadership in a hectic World" Gunter, Nina & Leonard, Gay. Kansas City, MO. Beacon Hill Press., 2009 ISBN: 978034124474
3]"Intentional ministry in a not-so-mega church" Bickers, Dennis. Kansas City, MO., Beacon Hill Press., 2009 ISBN: 978034124349
4]"Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership from Nixon to Clinton" Gergen, David. New York, New York. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2000, ISBN: 9780743203227


Here are some reflections from Leadership, Summer 2009 magazine
Leadership mag. was honored by the Evangelical Press Assoc., made of more than 300 Christian magazines, newspapers and online publications. The journal received the Award of Excellence. for its high quality writing, both personal and authoritative, and for its

'If we can see church as the people and not just a worship gathering, a lot would be solved in bridging the generations' .. Dan Kimball
'Reared on self-esteem and impervious to guilt, the next generation needs good news that can break through their defenses.' ..Scot McNight
'Twenty somethings want and desperately need someone to yell at them from the Bible. They need an authoritative voice in their life.' ...Collin Hansen
'We want people to think beyond what's right and wrong. We want them to fill their lives with things that stir their affections for Jesus Christ.'
It's okay to not be okay, but its not okay to stay that way. .... Matt Chandler
'The younger generation isn't content receiving a vision; they want to be a part of shaping and creating the vision.' ...J.R.Kerr
'It is so easy to substitute doing ministry for truly communing with God' ... James Emery White
'Solitude is not removing yourself from service to others; it is the essential preparation for service' ... Christ Armstrong

I'd love to give you more; and some of the really tough ones I've left out .... to read more get the magazine, its more than worth the price you will pay for it. If you're a leader, and/or have influence over others, you absolutely need to read it. I should be done with my copy by the first of the week, then you can read mine.
Enjoy, eutychus

Monday, August 10, 2009

Willowcreek's 'Global Leadership Summit 2009'

"Lead Where YOu Are" was a tremendous source of help and encourgement. Speakers from U2's Bono to England's Tony Blair shared valuable insights on not only how to lead but marrying our faith to our leadership. It was because of the generosity of another church in this community that I was able to attend, and I will never be able to adequately thank them. These two days of summit generated many heart-searching questions for both leaders and their churches. Personal challenges from time to time caused us to search deep within our souls for the reasons we lead and serve Christ. Numerous quotes will always serve to remind us who we are, and what we can become if God is leading us. It would be difficult to choose one statement as my favorite, but there was one by Bono which ranks right up there, 'We are most Christlike standing FOR something rather than AGAINST!.'

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back from Church Camp and Vacation

WOW! It's good to be back home. Church camp was a spiritually 'high' time; I was challenged, molded and renewed. The speakers were awesome, the Bible teacher fantastic, the music incredible and in the midst of that celebration, 'I became a brand new grandpa for the 13th time!!

This past weekend [Thursday - Monday] we visited our middle daughter, husband and family, in Upper New York! We had a wonderful time with them; for the most part the weather went out of its way to contribute to our happiness. Although, my wife and I have been reminded, in our trip from Michigan to New York that we are getting older, the stops more frequent and lasting a little longer. On the way home we were able to spend a few hours with my mom and grandma, which was a blessing!

During camp and vacation I was able to read a couple of books, my favorite one being, "When facing a lion in a pit on a snowy day" which actually comes from the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel. Sometime later I'll write a brief review of that book. Tomorrow and Friday I will be attending a regional hookup to the World Summit from Willowcreek, and am anxiously looking forward to that experience. So much has happened in these last three weeks I can't adequately began to summarize them and do justice to the experiences.