End of an Era

Tonight is the end of an era.  It is with some sadness that I retired two of my previous blog sites but not before transferring the contents over to here.  I started blogging on Blogger’s platform and at one time had three different blogs.  I had a lectionary blog, which I quickly merged with Virginia Transplant.  This past spring, when I moved over to WordPress, I merged my sermon blog with Reflections from the Southside.  Both Virginia Transplant and Sermon Cafe Roundtable have been dormant since early spring, so I thought I would finally retire them and delete them since all the informtion was here anyway.  In doing so, I also took the links to those blogs off my blogroll.

The Blogger platform served me well in the early days, and WordPress keeps on upgrading, so now that I’m familiar with this platform, I’ll probably stay here.  Good bye old friends.

Best Out of Office Replies — Friday Fun

Thanks to Greg over at Church Video Ideas for this:

Best Out of Office Replies by Jeremy Wright

1. I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Be prepared for my mood.

2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.

3. I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails you send me until I return from vacation on 4 April. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

4. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

5. The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and trysending again.

6. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system… You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.

7. I’ve run away to join a different circus.

*** I don’t know about you, but I’ve needed a laugh lately. So what can you come up with? Got a number 9 and 10 reply?

The Reformation

Today in 1517, Martin Luther posted 95 Theses on the door of Wittenburg Castle Church.  Those these sparked a revolution in the church.  There was all kinds of abuse happening in the church and Martin Luther sought to reform the church from within.  When he became too dangerous to the power structure of the church, they threw him out and even tried to kill him.

Some may wonder why I even bring this up.  I heard a quote not too long ago about the church:

A church without a history, is a church without a future.

Another quote that goes along with that is: Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

I live in a house full of history buffs.  Pam loves history and so does Rebecca.  She especially loves church history.  This morning on Facebook her status reflected today’s significance.  There are times that the church likes to conveniently forget its history.  But we can’t do it.  We find ourselves making the same mistakes over and over again.  It was interesting to be in Roanoke a few weeks ago with Dr. Bob Black, who taught us about eccesiology, or the study of the church.  What is the church’s mission?  How has that played out historically?

Several things came about as a result of Martin Luther’s protest.  First, there was a return to scriptural authority — sola scriptura.  Then there was the “radical” concept of “salvation by faith by grace alone”. I love how Dr. Black dealt with the tension of a corporate church – the body of Christ and yet a personal faith.  Luther also brought to us worship services in the common language — everything had been in Latin up to that time and it was not a common language anymore.  So the people just observed worship.  He brought back congregational singing — singing and musicianship had been given completely over to the professionals.

Martin Luther was a reformer — he didn’t set out to cause a revolution — he didn’t set out to start a new church or the churches that followed it, but he wanted to be a man of God — who followed the scriptures.  In our own tradition, we have those who never set out to part from the churches they were part of.  John Wesley never intended to start the Methodist Episcopal church.  He wanted to reform the church from the inside, but was kicked out.  Orange Scott never intented to start the Wesleyan Methodist Connection, but was kicked out of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  These men understood that the church should always be looking at its mission in light of scripture.  That’s a great thought.  How are we doing?  How is the church doing with its mission in light of what scripture tells us?  Blessings…

Reflections on the Phillies 2nd World Championship

The year was 1980 and the Phillies were wearing powder blue jerseys on the road (like the ones on the left.)  In two previous appearances, the Phillies had only won a single game. (1915 vs. the Red Sox)  The Phillies took this series in 6 games.  The Phillies have gone to the World Championship twice since then losing to the Orioles in 1983 and BlueJays in 1993.

This year’s foe was the Tampa Bay Rays.  I’m really glad the Phillies wrapped it up at Citizens Bank Ballpark.  Who knows what would have happened if they would have returned to Tropicana Field.  The last time the Phillies won the series:

  • I was a senior in high school.
  • Their home stadium – Veteran’s Stadium – was only ten years old and state of the art.

What else happened in 1980? (via Wikipedia)

  • February 22 – The United States Olympic Hockey Team defeats the Soviet Union in the semifinals of the Winter Olympics, in the Miracle on Ice.
  • May 9 – In Florida, a Liberian freighter named the Summit Venture hits the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, sending 35 people (most of whom were in a bus) to a watery death as a 1,400-foot section of the bridge collapses.
  • May 18 – Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 57 and causing US$3 billion in damage.
  • May 21 – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is released.
  • June 1 – The Cable News Network (CNN) is officially launched.
  • October 31 – The Polish government recognizes Solidarity.
  • November 4 – U.S. presidential election, 1980: Republican challenger and former Governor Ronald Reagan of California defeats incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter in a landslide victory, exactly 1 year after the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis.
  • November 21 – Millions of viewers tune into the U.S. TV soap opera Dallas to learn who shot lead character J.R. Ewing. The “Who shot J.R.?” event is a national obsession.

How time flies.  It was interesting having to watch the hometown team with national announcers.  I really, really miss Harry Kalas and Ritchie Ashburn.  I thought it was cool that following the end of the game, they replayed the last pitch with Harry the K (as he is known in Philadelphia) making the call.  It brought back great memories as a kid watching on tv and listening on the radio (does anybody do that anymore) to Kalas and Ashburn call the games.  I also remember the great dissapointment when we found out in 1980 that the game would be carried on the local Phillies affiliate, the game would not be called by the local announcers, but by the national feed announcers.  From what I understand, Major League Baseball has changed its policy.  It would be great to hear Harry Kalas call a game again.  He has a great voice and understanding of the game.

One other interesting fact is that the last time the Phillies won a World Series was also a leap year.  🙂

Because we live out of town, most of our Phillies baseball watching is limited to the post-season and what a great post-season it was.  Congratulations to the Philadelphia Philles — 2008 World Series Champions

World Series Champions

Just a few minutes ago, the hometown Phillies wrapped up their second world championship.  The last time we celebrated a championship was when I was in high school.  I probably plan on wearing my Phillies cap tomorrow.  I wore it all day Tuesday.  It was a great post season for the hometown team.

Mosaic Update

Feeling alot like fall today.  It’s suppose to warm up starting tomorrow.

Tonight was our annual Fall Festival.  We changed it up tonight moving it Wednesday night during our regular Mosaic time.  I had a deal with the students last week, that if they could get 40 including adults, I would take a pie to the face.

We had 22 students and 11 staff for a total of 33, which is the highest attendance this church year and it’s been a long time since we had 33 on a Wednesday, so I’m excited.  It was a great night of worship, fun, and food.

Now, my attention turns to the Phillies and the World Series.  It’s all tied in the top of the seventh.  Go Phillies!

Discernment

Here’s a great quote from Oswald Chambers: — Thanks to Mark at Revitalize Your Church.

God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.

It always amazes me how we feel that God had given us the gift of discernment to criticize others — because they don’t do things the way we do or they don’t agree with us.  We say they are wrong and therefore we feel God has called us to point out the error of their ways.  This quote by Oswald Chambers reminds us that we need to intercede (pray) for those whom we feel are in error.  Many times what we feel is error is a matter of preference.  I know God has spoke to me quite a bit about this lately.  Will you criticize and complain or will you pray.  The choice is yours.

Election 2008

To say the least, this election season has been most interesting — no, not because of the constant mud slinging – that’s pretty much business as usual. It’s because I have been listening to Christians talking about this election, especially as it applies to presidential hopeful Barak Obama. I’m sure you have received the emails, just as we have. Early on, Prof. Keith Drury wrote about those forwarded emails. There have been many mistruths spoken about both candidates through those forwarded emails. One of the themes we have heard lately is “what will happen to this ‘Christian Nation’ if Senator Obama is elected?” Before we (this is a co-operative post between Pam and I) get to that – the main reason for writing this, is because we want people to vote based on the facts of both candidates and not the fiction that has been tossed around.

  1. First and foremost, no matter who gets elected, God will still be on the throne. The election in the United States does not change that fact. God will still be sovereign and he places in authority those whom He wishes. Romans 13:1-7 states: Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. No matter who gets elected we must then, as we are reminded in 1 Timothy 2:2 to Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. I know it is hard to pray for a person with whom you do not agree, but that does not change what scripture tell us to do. One of the commitments that Pam and I have made is to pray for our elected President whether he or she is the person voted for or not — which begs another question — “What will your church do with evangelical Obama voters?” How will we treat those who voted differently? My prayer would be that in Christ’s church, we would still treat them with Christian love and respect.
  1. This nation was built on Christian-Judeo beliefs and principles, but this country was not founded as a Protestant Christian nation. Our founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights so that everyone had the right to worship in whatever way they wanted to. We have never had a state religion. It is written into our Constitution.
  2. History will tell you that when and where Christianity has died, (such as in Western Europe, Germany and the UK, to be specific) it has left a vacuum – an open door – which has allowed other religions to spread. A lack of passion for building God’s Kingdom has contributed to this — this is not a recent phenomena. Since the anniversary of the Reformation is right around the corner, we will take that as an example. Martin Luther had become very disturbed at the abuses of power that were happening in the Catholic Church. It seems it was more important to build monuments to men (disguised as monuments to God) than to build the Kingdom of God. While the Protestant Reformation happened and revived the fires of building the Kingdom of God, it didn’t take long for those fires to die. It was into this vacuum several hundred years later that Islam is stepping in.

We have friends that are missionaries with Global Partners in Germany who are ministering in the culture left by this vacuum. They also spent several years in the UK under similar circumstances. The question becomes is where is your passion. Do you have more passion about who is going to be our next president or is your passion building God’s Kingdom? The benefits of building God’s Kingdom are out of this world, while the benefits of building a political kingdom on this earth are only temporary and will fade away and in the long run your time will be wasted. Seize the day and build God’s Kingdom.

For another similar perspective, check out Perry Noble’s blog.

Just one week, until November 4th and our next presidential election.

Monday Night Bowling

Today was a great day off, but it was also my regular church league bowling night.  If you have been following this blog you know our team has been stuck in 13th place for several weeks.  That’s where we began the evening.  Because we bowl in a handicap league, we had to spot the other team 114 pins for the first game and 88 pins for the last two.  We ended up winning 2 of 3 games plus total pins, giving us 5 points for and 2 against.  It just might be enough to get us out of 13th place.

Personally, I bowled a 164, 141, and a 154 for a 459 set (a personal best again.)  This gave me a 153 for the night and raised my season average from a 134 to 136.  Over all it was a good night for the Preston 5.

Sarah Palin for President

In this election there has been a lot of mudslinging and many mean words said. I am one of those people who cannot take the stress anymore, so to get a relief from the all the stress I think we need a little humor!!! I am going to list my reasons for Sarah to be president.

  • We had male presidents for over two hundred years and look what our country is like now. It is time to see what a woman can do.
  • It would be nice to go in to the beauty shop and ask to have my hair done like the President of United States’ hair.
  • With all the credence she has had since becoming John McCain’s running mate, having a world leader call her the devil would not hurt her feelings.
  • If she can work and run a house with five children in it, she can run the run country with no problem.
  • She has been in beauty pageants. If you have never been in a pageant, you do not know how tough you have to be to survive with all the divas. She is tough enough to stand up to all terrorists in the world.
  • She is a hockey mom, she will be able the handle those cabinet meeting when they get out of hand.

So when I go to those polls you what will be on my mind? Yes, I wonder what is Sarah wearing and can I fix my hair like her?