Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good times in Wilmington

Heather and I spent this last weekend in Wilmington, NC where I performed for an event coordinated by Pastor Terry Henry and the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor Henry and I met up at Gordon Conwell Seminary in Boston this past May. What a treat it was, they put us up in a hotel right on the beach for three days, while our girls stayed at good friends back in Jersey. We haven't had this kind of time alone since Abbie was born, thats 13 years!

Thank you Terry!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Extravagant Expectations

This past Sunday I preached from Acts 19:8-20 and used a quote from the forward of Daniel Boorstin’s book “Image: a Guide to Pseudo Events in America” . I tried to connect the idea of magic, or the manipulation of spirits, (which we see in that Chapter with the Seven Sons of Sceva, who were using the name of Jesus as a kind of magical incantation to get what they want) with our cultures worship of consumerism, hedonism and nationalism. Comparing their idolatry with ours, Boorstin helped, heres the quote:

When we pick up our newspaper at breakfast, we expect --we even demand--that it bring us momentous events since the night before. We turn on the car radio as we drive to work and expect “news” to have occurred. in the evening, we expect our house to only to shelter us, to keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but to relax us, to dignify us, to encompass us with soft music and interesting hobbies, to be a playground, a theatre, and a bar. We expect our two-week vacation to be romantic, exotic, cheap, and effortless. We expect a faraway atmosphere if we go to a nearby place; and we expect everything to be relaxing, sanitary, and Americanized if we go to a faraway place. We expect new heroes every season, a literary masterpiece every month a dramatic spectacular every week, a rare sensation every night. We expect everybody to feel free to disagree, yet we expect everybody to be loyal, not to rock the boat or take the Fifth Amendment. We expect everybody to believe deeply in his religion, yet not to think less of others for not believing. We expect our nation to be strong and great and vast and varied and prepared for every challenge; yet we expect our “national purpose” to be clear and simple, something that can be bought in a paperback at the corner drugstore for a dollar.

We expect anything and everything. We expect the contradictory and the impossible. We expect compact cars to be spacious; luxury cars to be economical. We expect to be rich and charitable, powerful and merciful, active and reflective, kind and competitive. We expect to be inspired by mediocre appeals for “excellences,” to be made literate by illiterate appeals for literacy. We expect to eat and stay thin, to be constantly on the move and ever more neighborly, to go to a “Church of our choice” and yet feel its guiding power over us, to revere God, and to be God.

Never has people been more the masters of their environment. Yet never has a people felt more deceived and disappointed. For never has a people expected so much more than the world could offer.

We are ruled by extravagant expectation:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thats My King!

This is an excerpt from the late Dr. Shadrach Meshach (S.M.) Lockridge Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego. I preached this weekend from Acts 19, the passage that includes the story of the seven sons of Sceva who invoked the name of Jesus in an effort to ply their trade as itinerant exorcist mystics. I thought it an interesting counter point to see the way Dr. Lockridge invoked the name of Jesus. I've included two videos, the first one is the one that was shown in church and is shorter. the second one includes the entire excerpt from his sermon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Setting my sights!

I live on the Delaware & Raritan Canal Path, and am just discovering what a great place this is for running. Not only is it ever beautiful, with lots of wildlife (yesterday I saw a spotted faun right off the path) But it has great predetermined mileage sites, each site is about two and a half miles apart. This will be great for training for the half-marathon I am hoping to run at the end of August at Liberty State Park, there on the banks of the Hudson, looking over the Manhattan skyline. I don't even want to mention the other running goal I have for later in November.

Yesterday ran five miles from the Weston Bridge to Amwell Rd. By the end of this month I hope to be running from Weston to Blackwell's Mills Bridge and back. heaven help me, I'll need it

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mark 9:42

"And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.

running lessons

I’ve been running lately and have been struck again with how much of a mental challenge it can be. I remember a lesson that came to me in my early twenties when rode my bicycle on the Oregon coast. One particular day I put in over a hundred miles, and if you’ve been up highway 101 you know that the roads are steep, circuitous and spectacular. It was the steepness that I was having troubles with. I soon realized that if I focused on the 15 feet in front of me, and just completed that distance, one section at a time, somehow, seeming inexplicably, I was able to move through mountain after mountain, till I finally reached home.

Well the same lesson is impressing itself upon me again as I hoof my way down the Raritan Canal path, it’s amazing how much it helps me accomplish my puny little running goals. A good lesson for me in other areas of my life too, like prayer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Presentation Zen

I've been thinking a bit about using some presentation graphics, some visual reinforcements with the lectures and sermons I am called to give now and then, but like many of you I've experience too many death's by presentation to really push me too far along this path. I've used powerpoint very sparingly. Powerpoint kills, has been my unspoken montra. Then my good friend Dr. Jeff Arthurs who is a professor of homiletics at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, inspired me to explore a little further with it. to my surprise he said he had found powerpoint to be helpful with some of his work. I know Jeff is a real word and presentation-smith, so it got me thinking. Then I stumbled upon a youtube from an old classmate of mine from high school named Garr Reynolds, who happens to be a highly sought after guru on matters related to visual presentations; powerpoint etc. He has written a popular blog called "presentation zen" and followed it with a book. The presentation above was given to the folks at Google.

Garr hasn't changed a bit since I last saw him in 1982!

Ecclesiastes 3:4 "...a time to dance"

I haven't used this site in some time, so I thought I'd kick things off again with this post that I picked this up from NPR this morning, made my day.

“Matt Harding has gained a cult following for making and posting YouTube videos of himself in various exotic locales — dancing badly.

Harding ditched his job as a video game designer in 2003 to backpack around Asia. The recordings of his international jigging soon gained him Internet fame. Corporate sponsorship followed, funding more travels and new dancing videos.

In 2007, with backing from a gum company, Harding announced his intention to circle the globe again. He received more than 20,000 invitations from fans around the world to come dance with them in their hometowns. He took them up on their offers and roped others he encountered on his travels into boogieing with him as well.

The video Harding made from these travels, of communal bad dancing, went instantly viral when it was posted on YouTube at the end of June. Fueled by blog postings and e-mail forwards, the video garnered more than 3 million views its first week up.”