Archive | September, 2012

Life moves on…

13 Sep

PROVERBIALLY SPEAKING…
“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly. If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house. Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” (Prov. 17:12-14)


JERUSALEM COUNCIL to MID COUNCIL
I recently read Tod Bolsinger’s insightful BLOG entry on the PCUSA General Assembly’s negative response to the report of the Mid Council Commission Tod chaired. This seems to be another indicator of the “double, double toil and trouble” confronting us. (Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1) Many church members believe the fire is burning, and the cauldron bubbling, and the denomination cooking in its own stew.

It seems to me, however–in light of the disagreements the early Church experienced, and the contentious history of the Presbyterian Church in America–that we are doing alright. (Surprised?) But I do believe we need some ‘altitude adjustments’. No typo.

This year, our San Joaquin Presbytery may lose our 12th church. They are not leaving over local issues, or presbytery issues, but denominational disagreements. When asked his church’s position on whether to remain with PCUSA, one new young pastor responded, ‘What do these issues have to do with our ministry and mission to our community?’

Referring to the Mid Council report, Tod mentioned how, “In one sense, our hope was to give the ‘makers of the future’ a new set of tools, a new ‘shop’ to experiment in, and a new sense of permission.” To this, I believe the new young pastor would counter: “Why? We’ve already got them! We need denominational support to bring to life the visions God gives us.”

I am not unappreciative of middle management efforts. However, I believe what is needed is a refocusing by middle management on the ministry for which we exist, rather than on a realignment of our organization. More and more churches are struggling to survive. Our own presbytery faces daunting financial challenges, and probably needs to limit our ministries to what is absolutely necessary.

And, I believe, what is absolutely necessary is to help our churches share the Gospel message by living it more. Reliance on prayer, seeking the Holy Spirit more and more, daring to live for Jesus, boldly sharing with joy what the Lord is doing in our midst, should be our unwavering goals.

BACKPACKING PIX
Give this site time to load, then enjoy!

WAGON TRAIN… to the past
Our television provider offers a western channel, and the old series ‘Wagon Train’ is one of the shows available. Some of the episodes have proven interesting. My initial anticipations were ‘early television’, ‘simplicity’, ‘uncomplicated’. However, something surprising became apparent to me. There seemed to be a greater depth of characterization than I expected. Often a greater richness that is a reminder that ‘simple’ and ‘basic’ are at the heart of our human condition, regardless of how convoluted it often seems. It is not unusual that a special choice of dialogue, or a single expression, lets us enter the story more personally. I am often grateful for the quality of the writing and direction.

It makes me want to be more observant of deep feelings in the facial expressions and words of people around me.

How interesting…
that it was at this point I saw this entry from a friend’s BLOG– “The Things I Don’t Do”. A thought-provoking look at the value and use of our time. Thanks, Sarah.

And while we’re discussing values…
this graphic from ProgressiveChristianity.org through friend, Bryan.

FROM CALVIN…
“…the knowledge of God, which is set before us in the Scriptures, is designed for the same purpose as that which shines in creation–viz. that we may thereby learn to worship him with perfect integrity of heart and unfeigned obedience, and also to depend entirely on his goodness.” (INSTITUTES Book 1, Chapter 11)

Blessings on you and yours until next time,
Steve

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What is going to make your ‘today’ special ?

7 Sep

PROVERBIALLY SPEAKING…
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.” (Prov. 16:18-20)

BICYLING
Started the day with a short ride around the neighborhood. Beauty needed to work on the bulletin for tomorrow’s Celebration of Life.

WAGON TRAIN… to the past
Our television provider offers a western channel, and the ’50s series ‘Wagon Train’ is one of the shows available. Some of the episodes have proven interesting. My initial anticipations were summarized with thoughts such as ‘early television’, ‘simplicity’, ‘uncomplicated’. However, something surprising became apparent to me. There seemed to be a greater depth of characterization than I expected. Often a greater richness that is a reminder that ‘simple’ and ‘basic’ are at the heart of our human condition, regardless of how convoluted it often seems. It is not unusual that a special choice of dialogue, or an expression, lets us enter the story more personally. I am often grateful for the quality of the writing and directing.

It makes me want to be more observant of deep feelings in the facial expressions and words of people around me.

How interesting…
that it was at this point I saw this entry from a friend’s BLOG– “The Things I Don’t Do”. A thought-provoking look at the value and use of our time. Thanks, Sarah.

And while we’re discussing values…
this graphic from ProgressiveChristianity.org through friend, Bryan.



FROM CALVIN…
“…the knowledge of God, which is set before us in the Scriptures, is designed for the same purpose as that which shines in creation–viz. that we may thereby learn to worship him with perfect integrity of heart and unfeigned obedience, and also to depend entirely on his goodness.” (INSTITUTES Book 1, Chapter 11)


Blessings on you and yours until next time,
Steve

Rollin’ along once more…

6 Sep

PROVERBIALLY SPEAKING…
“To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue. All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. The LORD works out everything for his own ends — even the wicked for a day of disaster. The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil. When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.”

(Prov. 16:1-7)

PASTOR’S COVENANT GROUP…
got together again yesterday. It was nice to be back after the busy summer months apart, and catch up. We began what will be a series of good discussions on Calvin’s Institutes. Sound boring? His thoughts are surprisingly ‘current’. What’s the saying? The more things change, the more they stay the same?

BICYLING
Started the day running a little behind. We were already out and about when I realized we hadn’t had any breakfast. Oh, well. It was a good ride, as we went almost 11 miles (10.8).

Here’s Beauty after this morning’s ride: weary, but feelin’ good! Certainly a different look than when she’s modeling.

ALASKA POSTERS
Got our two posters of pictures from our Alaska trip up on the wall. The lay-out wasn’t as aesthetic as I (ideally) hoped, but the photographs are pretty good, and the composites look alright.

Here’s the “overview of our Alaskan excursion” poster:

Tonight’s LIFETREE CAFE…
at Coalinga First Presbyterian is about “What’s Right With You!”– a fresh look at building more positive self-images. Promises to be another excellent community discussion time. If you’re in town, come on by. The fun starts when the doors open at 6:30. You won’t be disappointed.

Blessings on you and yours until next time,
Steve

Welcome Back… to us!

3 Sep
I apologize…
for our absence.
Lots has gone on, and we hope to be more consistent on into the future.
As a hint of one thing we’ve experienced, my new Facebook Timeline photo (here)
is one I shot on vacation.
Until next time, many blessings from our Lord be yours!
Steve