Showing posts from 2009

A Year in Review

I am old enough to know I don't have to reinvent the wheel so here is an article well worth the reading and chewing. If you're willing perhaps you could post your answers as comments. I'll post mine a bit later. Hat tip to William Vanderbloemen for the link. Peace, Alan

Danny's Story

Hat Tip to Tyler for a God inspired post and link . Take ten minutes out of your preparation for Christmas. Read the blog post. Then click on the video. It will be worth it. God is speaking in this exchange. Merry Christmas Alan

Eighteen Month Difference

Eighteen months ago Wordle showed this blog like this: 2009 brought about a change as you can see. We have changed the direction of the church. We are now able to move ahead without worry that the latest "denominational drama" will threaten our church and it's members. We have changed the vision of the church. Our urban congregation is on the verge of doing great things for our community. There is a new confidence as we step out in faith that the structure is there to help not hinder such work. We have changed the energy level of the church. We're not bigger and we're certainly not younger; but there is a new found vitality to attempt to tackle bigger things for the sake of Christ. No longer is our energy used up in fighting against heresies disguised as truth and promoted as God's will. Today I don't make excuses for the General Assembly or Presbytery, nor do I have too. Today my stomach doesn't know up when I read Presbyweb, Outlook or read "Pr

Advent 3

A few years ago a young man who attended our church got meningitis and was found by friends just hours from dying. A fast acting doctor got him into a clinical trial and the medication they pumped into him saved his life. As we've been hearing H1N1 is nothing to scoff at as it is highly contagious as is MRSA and a many other diseases running around the human race. God's love is equally infectious. When infected with it we find ourselves loving others, even our enemies. When we've been caught by God's infectious joy we discover that no matter what life hands us we face it the assurance God is in charge. The shepherds that first Christmas embraced the infectious joy of God and went to see the miracle of Jesus' birth. King Herod, faced with the same news, grew upset and along with him all of the city was troubled. very few people are like Herod. Very few people are like the shepherds either. Most find that they've had "just enough" Christianity and church

Advent Week 2

What does it mean to have our lives "redeemed"? From what are we saved? From what do we need saving or rescuing? Redemption is the beginning, end and at the middle of God's intent when it comes to Christmas. Christ's birth isn't illustrative of how innocence wins over the powerful and connected.Christ's birth isn't about victims rights, political theory, or the vulnerability of infants in the "big, bad world". No! It is about God's desire to make us His friends once more. It is about such a deep, gut-wrenching, fundamental goal to see our rebellion paid for in full. So great, that Jesus, God's Son, comes to die. The result of that truth in our life makes us other oriented. It promotes a generosity we can't imagine and it allows us to be used by the Holy Spirit to reflect the redemptive power of God to the world in which we live. Consider Philippians 1 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the in

Advent Interruption

A War Tax is on the table in Congress introduced by Rep. David Obey (D-Wis). I'd like to know where the $250,000 limit comes from. If that's middle-class then I should be below the poverty level along with most everyone I know. And why just those over $250k. Do the rest of us not have to share the sacrifice being made by U.S. men and women? At the same time, how come Obey didn't promote a tax to support the bank bailout and auto bailout. Shouldn't we too share the golden parachutes of high salaries and bonuses? Then there is the "Stimulus act" and "health care" just passed. We too should be able to share the sacrifice incumbent in these programs. It seems to me the best use of the stimulus would be to give a check to every American family to bring them over the magic $250k mark then any taxes would be fair and equal. I am a born and raised Democrat. I vote a mixed ticket but my mantra has become, "if you can't help us for heaven's sake

Advent Week 1

Yesterday we started our annual Adventure of Advent. This may not have much impact for those who aren't part of our congregation but our goals for this season is to have the Holy Spirit grow our hearts "three-sizes". God's generosity has been apparent in our congregation for years but yesterday it was demonstrated wonderfully as 12 of you signed up to be involved in our outreach, [side-note: only 2 people forgot to put their names on the sheets]. Twenty-four percent of those present took this step of faith. Don't forget to use the advent insert for seasonal scripture readings. Consider just a couple of verses from Monday's reading in John 1. "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." I was reminded by these that the blessings I have because of my talents, position, wishes or hard work. They are acts of God's grace poured out i

Black Friday Update

"Hope Springs Eternal" wrote Alexander Pope and I have to believe that was the mantra of the two ladies trying to have Target employees load two (2) 40" Apex LCD TV's in to their red 2009 Kia Optima. Best wishes for them both on the drive home... Peace Alan

Truth is truth!

I have a strange mix of blogs on my Google page. Among them is "Hello, my name is" by Scott Ginsberg. In is post today he steps on my toes and probably a lot of others. It would be a simple thing to attache a Bible verse to each of his points and preach them. So what do you do when you're brought up short by an unexpected source? What if the source is not in your political arena? What if it doesn't wear your religious name tag? Is truth, truth? Ok, gotta go get my office cleaned up... thanks Scott Peace Alan

A Personal Manifesto For Congregational Singing

Hat tip to Chuck Huckaby on facebook. Personally I think "worship wars" is a bit overstated but there are some musical issues being felt within the church. Here's a bit of wisdom to get the focus off of us and onto God where it belongs. A Personal Manifesto For Congregational Singing Posted using ShareThis Thirty plus years ago during a Televised Christmas Mass the priest made the following comment just before a hymn. "Scripture says make a joyful noise to the Lord. If the Lord has given you a good voice it is your opportunity to praise Him. If he has given you a lousy voice, it's your chance to get even." Some sayings are worth remembering Peace Alan

Gutsy Move

I do not use the words "pro-life" or "pro-choice" because both terms carry more baggage than I care to be a part of. I am married to an RN who works with children, some of whom have babies long before they should. I've known people who will testify that the abortion they had saved their lives. And I know others who deal with post traumatic disorder from their abortion. I am aware of Sanger's eugenics background as she started Planned Parenthood and am not surprised that Portland's big, new Planned Parenthood center is on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in a mostly African-American community. Now having said all of that I felt it was necessary to post a recent news story out of Bryan Texas. Watch, comment if you want, and pray through your response. Peace Alan

Do the Wave

I have no idea when this is going to roll out from Google but can you imagine what a church of any size might be able to do with such a tool. Peace Alan

Church History in 4 minutes

I wish I'd had done this but hat/tip to Rev. Bosco Peters of New Zealand for blogging and tweeting this video... Peace Alan

I'll give this one to the Aggies

I spent four years in Texas. It was a good four years. I came to love both UT and A and M however my sympathies usually ran with the Longhorns [hook 'em horns]. Having said that, this video is simply amazing. I imagine it was part of an applied physics class [cough, cough, choke, smile]. Enjoy Peace Alan Here's the longer shot

Post-post modern explanation

Thanks to Chris Lairmer for the video. It's great...

Apostles Creed

Hat Tip to Chuck Huckaby for the video. There's just too much truth in this... Enjoy Okay here's another one just for the heck of it. Peace, Alan

There but for the grace of God...

This video is making the blog rounds and I understand the sentiments being dumped on Officer Cheeks. BUT, I can't help but wonder if the same segment of the American public would be aghast if Officer Cheeks confronted Ms. Cindy Sheehan of Camp Casey fame? I doubt it. Background for where I'm going. I've voted for 9 presidents. I've liked and disliked most of them at one time or another. I was raised a democrat, have often voted a party ticket and will die a democrat, although saved. My undergraduate degree is in Political Science because I really like the chaos that revolves around political systems. My politics are not where they once were and they aren't where they will be and that's okay with me. For followers of Christ we walk a thin line between Acts 4:18-20 and Romans 13:1-8 . Of the word and ideas that jump out at me are speak, teach, obey God, established by God, God's servant (3 times in Romans), pay taxes, respect, and honor. God has been doing a

Pre or Post Poodle?

As a pastor I've had to deal with the tough question of whether or not our pets go to heaven when they die. I try to be consoling to the kid who lost their guppy, puppy, kitty or whatever and still be somewhat theological consistent. But now, the ultimate question has been answered. What happens to your pets when Hal Lindsey [that dates me] is right and the RAPTURE occurs. A hat tip from Jack, a OLD senior high kid from seminary day sent me Eternal Earth-Bound Pets . I don't if I'm more concerned for the Christ followers who will fork out the money or for the spiritually blinded who are willing to take the money and run. All I know is that it is just too doggone funny to not share.

A Bit Strange

Got an email today from Portland's Rose Garden that sparked a memory from a week ago. I had driven by and on the reader board I just caught the end of an announcement of an up and coming event . Immediately after it was the event for Rev. Osteen . The quick glance made it appear that they were linked. Then again, perhaps that's not so strange. Alan

WOW and I'm not talking the game.

Updated August 4, 2009 because I thought the picture was worth the work. Here's a little news story that I haven't seen on Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, or the other pundits of either liberal or conservative. Florida court rules Fox News can lie. The reason no one mentioned this is quite obvious, it's money. If the Russ' and O'Reilly's can lie then they'll get more people upset and sell more advertising. If the New York Times or NBC can lie then they can sell more advertising and make us either feel better or more worried about things. When I mentioned this to Mr. J, my youngest, he said, "What, that's just stupid." And his succinct, insightful and thoughtful response was exactly right. One comment on the Fox news was great, "they should change their motto from "Fair and Balanced" to "Telling You What You Want to Hear." Does is surprise you that the yellow journalism of Hurst fame is now legally protected? And what'

Better than I could do

H/T to Agnusday for a great post this Trinity Sunday. Also another great example of the new technology coming to terms with truth at Church Crunch . Read and enjoy. Peace Alan


Where does compassion come from? For some, it apparently springs from having superior fire power. For your wonderment: NEW YORK (Reuters) - An owner of a New York store thwarted a robbery only to take pity on the perpetrator, who claimed he could not feed his family, and gave the man $40 and a loaf of bread, a video of the incident showed. A video posted on Tuesday by the Newsday newspaper on its website showed a masked man wielding a bat as he entered a convenience store in Shirley, Long Island, just after midnight on May 21 and demanded money. But when the store's owner, identified by the local Channel 12 TV station as Mohammad Sohail, pulled out a rifle, the masked man dropped to his knees and appeared to beg for forgiveness. "He said 'I am sorry, I have no money, no job, my family is hungry,'" Sohail told the TV station. "Then I feel bad for him ... I take $40 for him." Sohail said he was not planning to press charges. Peace, Alan

Easter is Real

Continuing Easter theme check out this Christianity Today article. It is really good in light of the Jesus Seminar type arguments. Don't forget to go back and listen to the music by Keith Green in the previous post. They are GREAT Easter songs. Peace, Alan

Easter Song

Hat tip to Viola for a great video of Keith Green . Enjoy and worship freely. What the heck here's another great one for Easter Peace, Alan

ONE Trillion Dollars

Got a deacon who is fond of saying, "a billion here, a billion, there...pretty soon you're talking some serious money. H/T to Soundslikelife a pastor who moved to Mississippi posted a great visual to help us think about our economic life. Hope you enjoy it, pray over it and come to grips with what our grandchildren owe the world. . Have a great Sundayjavascript:void(0) Alan

Shout out for Prayer

We all have friends, family, worshipers and the like that need our prayers. I want to ask the blog community to be in prayer for Will Jackson and his family. Seth, his son, is need of a touch from our Father. You can read about it on his blog . Peace Alan

Where did all the people go?

Just noted the recent tallies on voting for 08-b and seeing how badly it was passed this past weekend by the Presbytery of the Cascades. The vote wasn't a surprise; the presbytery is blue across the votes. What did catch my eye was the number of those voting. I couldn't help but wonder why a loss of 210 voters over 11 years. We have had a number of deaths among retired ministers but have also gained more than a few who want to come to the Pacific Northwest. Maybe people are just tired of the fight. Some are just too busy being a pastor to their members. Saturday afternoon I ran into one member of Presbytery who didn't attend the meeting at an event for one of his members because being with his member was more important. Sadly, I might assume that some figure if they don't go they're not to blame for what happens. With a presbytery of some 65,000 square miles the place where the vote is held might be an issue as well. The largest turnouts for meetings take place in

Spinning Transparnency 2

From the " Transparency Website " we see listed 288 billion under "Tax Relief" has an * that says: "Tax Relief - includes $15 B for Infrastructure and Science , $61 B for Protecting the Vulnerable , $25 B for Education and Training and $22 B for Energy, so total funds are $126 B for Infrastructure and Science, $142 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $78 B for Education and Training, and $65 B for Energy." There are 214 references to "train" and Training. Linking that with "taxes" and I can find no references where the two words are in proximity to one another. There is some reference to training people for jobs but I did not note anything about "tax" incentives in that section of the bill. Section 1828-1833 starting on page 267 is one of the most detailed on "training" I could find. In this section the part dealing with "relocation" section 1833 seems to speak of changing allowances for those who move due to

Spinning Transparancy...

From the " Transparency Website " we see listed 288 billion under "Tax Relief" has an * that says: "Tax Relief - includes $15 B for Infrastructure and Science, $61 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $25 B for Education and Training and $22 B for Energy, so total funds are $126 B for Infrastructure and Science, $142 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $78 B for Education and Training, and $65 B for Energy." BTW the repetition is in the actual footnote on the website??? Why is this "tax relief? " Protecting the Vulnerab le doesn't appear in the bill at all. In fact " vulnerable " appears nine (9) times of which four (4) deal with television converter boxes or access to broadband; and another three (3) are aimed at HIT "Promotion of Health Information Technology" section of the bill. Two of them do seem to deal with emergency monies for those on TANF "State Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs" but that isn&

The Voting Continues

Jack Haberer wrote an interesting piece on the PC(USA)'s ongoing vote. In the interest of full disclosure, I no longer have a dog in this fight, but if I were still part of the PC(USA) I'd push to change the wording and here's why? 1. It would stop the fighting. The liberals would have finally won and the denomination would have a pretty clear picture in what direction lies its future. 2. It would stop the spin cycle from the right. There will be NO constitutional reason to deny ordination to practicing gay and lesbians, Buddhists or anyone else. 3. Many congregations will face the hard choice which they have not wanted to face before. Leave or stay and be less than they were called to be. 4. Some "tall steeple" pastors will have to decide if they are willing to spend the energy, time and theological work to lead their congregations into a new place or to wait out their years till retirement. Here is what I pray happens in the PC(USA). First, as the amendment pass

Thanks Rev. Fischler...

H/T to Dave Fischler over at The Reformed Pastor for the posting the great video and insight re: the arrangement of political constellations this past week. I'll let you read his comments. You can watch the video either on his site of below. Makes you sort of stop and think doesn't it. Peace Alan

The Dream: a process of fulfillment...

I just finished watching CNN's broadcast of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream Speech". Listening to the entire speech several things struck me. First of all how much I appreciate the African-American style of preaching. Dr. King didn't give a speech he preached a sermon. Secondly, I was struck how much of a prophet Dr. King was. He spoke of the "manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination" which were/are a reality for the African-American. Undoubtedly on his mind was one Gov. George Wallace of Alabama who declared in his inaugural speech in January of 1963, "In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." The photo of Gov. Wallace blocking the entrance to the school is an enduring reminder of the division that existed [and still exists to some exten

Imagine No Religion... huh!?!

Recently Portland got a booster shot of liberal/humanist hubris in the form o ten billboards from The Freedom From Religion's, "Imagine No Religion" campaign. As one whose life and livelihood originates from and is centered in the area of religion let me respond to such an imagination. Imagine no religion and you have to: Imagine no civil rights movement ...Let's start with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Ralph Abernathy, T.J. Jamison, Joseph Lowery, Fred Shuttleworth and Rev. Jesse Jackson to name a few. Without such people there would have been no non-violent protests voter rights or education for African-Americans. Go to 1775 when "Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage" was organized in Philadelphia having been founded by Quakers. Imagine no Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam, Medical Teams International, or Christmas in Action ...Start with Clarence Jordan, a Christian who began Koinonia Farm in Georgia in 1942. Add Millard

Mac World rocks the church

With both MacWorld in San Franciso and CES in Las Vegas it is time to consider how the new technology will touch the work of God's people in our daily life. Those in the pulpits and those on the pews both will have the chance to do some amazing things with these new innovations. Take a look at this new introduction from Apple and dream big people. Peace, Alan Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard LOL