Saturday, January 30, 2010
The Midwinter Conference has been a fixed event in my life before I was a pastor. My dad was a regular attendee and would offer me free lodging with him and his roommate whenever I could attend in Chicago. Now I've been going for 30 years pretty regularly. The conference has changed in size, venue and musical style over the decades, as it should.
MY DAYS AT THE MIDWINTER CONFERENCE – 2010
Experiencing “Midwinter” in Colorado
“Midwinter” – my season in life and ministry
Feeling strangely alone in a crowd.
Colleagues who mentored me - many not here,
Some gone to be with the Lord.
Colleagues I mentored –
Too busy to hang around – to connect.
Strange emotions, having passed the baton
To those who now lead
Why in ministry acquaintances are so many
Lasting friendships so few?
Wondering if relationships are only “useful”
While truly needed;
Forgotten and passed over
Once tasks and calling no longer serve as the glue.
What lingers as I am flying home…….
I am now becoming part of that cloud of witnesses
Watching others run their lap;
Truly in awe of what I have seen the Lord doing
In and through the ECC over the 50 years I have now served.
Rejoicing in spite of my strange aloneness
To be part of the organic, living BODY of Christ;
Always picking up and responding to the promptings of the HEAD;
Realizing anew that the cells in any body constantly replace each other
For the body to stay vibrantly alive and renewed in health.
“Midwinter” always precedes “Spring time resurrections” —
Generations give way… to the next …and the next.
Aging means a lot of letting go,
Being once more eternally thankful – and “Yes” –
Experiencing anew that in Christ I am really never, ever alone….
You, I, all of us – never alone in the crowd!! Yes!! Yes!!
Surprise or Reality?
Seth Godin today wrote an interesting piece on a cafe in Japan called Ogori where a customer gets what the person in front of him ordered and paid for, and who orders and pays for what the person next in line will be getting.
Carter Crocket makes the news
Carter Crocket member of MCC and now co-partner with two other men called "Karisimbi Business Partners" based in Rwanda is making news these days.
Friday, January 29, 2010
After the storm
The storms of last week made a major impact on our landscape, especially our seascape. The beach sand has been was down to the rocks and the wreckage of boats remind us of the power of unrelenting waves.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Lists are both joy and bane. When I make a list, it helps me remember what I want to do, get, or accomplish. When others make lists for me, it seems onerous, imposing and demanding. But there are times when good lists really help, like the weddings we have been a part of hosting. It helps when Martha gives me a list of things she wants me to accomplish as the wedding draws near. Lists help as we get ready for travel and especially when I go off to the store. I can remember two things, but the addition of a third requires a list.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I heard a disturbing new word today: pastoral road-kill. A friend told me that he felt like road-kill as a pastor, not only dead and on the side of the road where all the traffic buzzed by, but almost unrecognizable anymore.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Reasons for Volunteering
Mark Beeson lists eight good reasons why people volunteer. Does it describe you?
John Ortberg led a powerful devotion time this morning inviting us to a mature christian life driven and fueled by grace, culminating in the call of Jesus in John 7:37. All who are thirsty are invited to come to Jesus who promises that out of our lives will flow streams of living waters. It so connected to the altar-piece above, flowing with water.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Midwinter Connection: what's changed; it or me?
Our experience at Connection is now over and Martha and Jeanne are getting material gathered to construct the Midwinter stage altar-piece (I'll get a picture up later). I've been attending the Connection, formerly called Youth Workers' Connection, then added on to with the Worship Connection, church planters, world missions, chaplains, etc. Since I'm not in the center of administration, I can only observe from the perimeter. But it seemed a lot smaller and a lot louder this year. Again, it might be my aging ears. The worship service last night could not have been more than 250 people in a large hotel ballroom. Is it the economy making the numbers smaller or is the Covenant Connection segmenting into interest areas of ministry? Was the worship time geared for all attendees or just the youth worker component? I know that Denver makes it more remote than Chicago, but it also seemed a bit more fragmented and disconnected. The economy certainly played a part in it, smaller and more vulnerable churches elected not to send pastors and/or youth pastors as a cost-cutting measure.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Drawn to the Beach
Since the onslaught of this rain and the storm swells, I've been drawn to the beach every day to observe the raw power of the ocean and water. The beach where I swim has a stairway to the sand, that, at low tide goes 70 yards out to the water line. It's a nice, sandy beach for walking, kids, dogs, volleyball, etc. The beach (above) is gone. But not only gone, it's been washed down to the rocks, at least 4 - 5 feet of sand that was there last week.
But the cowboy in all this is my friend Lennis, who lives in the boat (above) anchored off the beach where I swim. He's lived in this boat almost 10 years by himself. His outboard motor is not working so he must continually bail out the water and clear the anchor of sea-weed (that is accumulating now). The seas since Monday have been in the 6-11 foot range, meaning he's been tossed around like a cork with no let-up. Please pray for the safety of my friend.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Why Join a Church? Annual Meetings!
Last night MCC held it's Annual Meeting. If your are around Southern California this week you know what kind of night it was: cold and miserable. It's been raining biblical amounts since Monday and shows no signs of letting up. But about 50+ members and friends gathered in the sanctuary after a brief dessert in the narthex. In 29 years of ministry I have gone through 29 Annual Meetings; some better than others, some organized, some chaotic, some contentious and some celebratory. But they were all one thing: real!
Snack Time Never Ends
I never noticed it until our first trip to France in 2000. Cars had no cup holders and people did not eat when they drove, or walked, or worked. Meals were for meals and then you did not eat.
The cost of being online
What's the long-term cost for always needing to be online and connected? An article in Wednesday's New York Times raises disturbing observations about the impact on children...and maybe us adults?
Monday, January 18, 2010
Cold Spring Trail....all mud!
The Cold Spring Trail on East Mountain Drive has a stream running across it. When it rains, it's fun to drive a car through the stream, sending up a shower on either side. I ran through it today to find it was not a water-filled stream, but a slurry of mud that encased the car in...mud. I felt kind of foolish! Good thing I have a strong hose to wash it off.
Storm beaches large boats
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Rainy Sunday afternoon
4:15 and rainy. Fire in the fireplace and Regina Spektor on the cd. Martha to my left writing letters and the New York Times in a pile at my feet. Worship was great and in an hour and a half I get to go to jail for an evening service.
The Power of the Holy Spiritls
There is very little self-help when you read the Gospels. Jesus is the source of healing. Jesus initiates healings of all sorts, sometimes without a lot of cooperation from the one being healed.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Covenant World Relief update
Friday, January 15, 2010
I just finished having a cup of coffee with Kelly and Luke as they headed off to LAX for their flight home to Chicago. It was both easy and poignant. We now have two daughters-in-law and one son-in-law all within the time frame of 13 months!! Our "children" have doubled in number and complexity, and both girls are red-heads (no more of those jokes!).
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Looking for Covenant images
The Covenant Midwinter Conference again asked Jeannne Heckman, Martha (my wife) and me to lead two seminars on sacred space like we did last year. What I'm hunting for now is a variety of pictures of Covenant church interiors, specifically the chancel, stage, worship center.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Another wedding pic
Luke @ Kelly married
Friday, January 08, 2010
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Dr. Martin Marty is a brilliant theologian and commentator on faith & culture. I subscribe to a journal he sends out monthly (paper only) called "Context" where he assembles the writings of thinkers he respects. It's a content-dense journal.
Do you remember the Verizon ad where an actor stands around locations yelling “Do you hear me now?” That’s kind of how the church staff felt over the past week since the public announcing of the Winter/Spring 1st Things schedule of only one adult option during the 2nd worship service time at 10:45 am.
Many of you spoke up to us about what this schedule does to your family’s ability to worship together. The entire staff met this week to address your important concerns.
While the reasons for offering one class during the 2nd worship service time are still worth considering (providing a strong adult learning time for 1st service attendees, dealing with the shortage of available adult teachers, recognizing the lower turnout to 1st Things in the Winter/Spring time), we do not feel they off-set the high value of families worshiping together.
Beginning this Sunday: the Living Word class on Holiness will change times from 10:45 am to 9:15 am. This will allow children, students, and adults (parent-types) to attend both Sunday School and worship together.
We will explore additional learning, growing, sharing options for those who attend the 1st worship service time, but that will come a bit later. I want to thank Diana Trautwein for her flexibility in rearranging her schedule to flex to our needs.
Grace & Peace,
Don and all the staff
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Martha texted me today a message that stopped me in my tracks. It was a copy to our daughter Liz and it said "Happy being alive-day!" That's our code for January 5th every year. Fourteen years ago Liz underwent radical surgery for cancer and has vibrantly survived. God was gracious to us all and now that event has no longer dominated our lives like it once did. Liz is far more than a survivor of cancer. Cancer no longer defines her, but now she is defined by her musicianship, her marriage, her faith, her dancing and all the other things that surround adults.
Monday, January 04, 2010
New Trends in Technology
Check out the recent Wired on-line magazine about gadgets.
Brady Boyd in his blog post this morning identified four trends that mark the vital church over the next 10 years: smaller, missional, ancient, supernatural. The mega-crowd is not life-sustaining over time. Does this mean a re-thinking of the multiple-service schedule that even impacts a smaller church like MCC? The response I see to Jon Lemmond as Pastor for Gospel Action is a direct validation of this deep hunger to be more missional on a person-by-person level in the local church. This past Sunday we linked holy communion with renewal of baptismal vows and the Lord's Prayer with strong response. The people I serve yearn for those practices that have endured over time, not the newest and glitziest. Our whole theme of worship this year is on the Holy Spirit and tapping into God's immanent presence among us right here and right now.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Liturgical innovations carry a risk of bombing. When you bring in a change to a known pattern, there is the likelihood of push-back and resistance. Today we tried communion from two stations, served by the pastoral staff. Worshipers were invited down side aisles and then were invited again to the baptismal font, front and center (turquoise image) to dip their hands in the baptismal font to renew their baptismal vows.