Saturday, December 29, 2007

just checking in...

wow, it's been a busy week of celebration and gathering!  too much fun to keep up with, not to mention all of us except Colin being way under the weather with nasty colds for the last 7 days. haven't even checked email since before last Saturday - hope there isn't anything urgent going on :)  this will be brief - just wanted to pop in and say hey amidst the flurry of activities.

christmas eve day at my parents, with aunts and uncles and cousins and sisters.  then the candlelight christmas eve service - Ronni's favorite service every year.

christmas with the kids in the morning on christmas day, and then with Ronni's mom, and then at her late grandmothers house with extended family. 

followed later in the week with a bingo party at her aunt and uncles with more extended family.  and a full day christmas party with Ronni's immediate family. 

hanging out with my sister Judy in from New York, and her new boyfriend Josh, and my sister Grace who is off of school for the break.  oh, and the gift of Guitar Hero 3 from some friends, which has been going non-stop in the living room, it seems, ever since. 

helping at Compassion today with Colin to restore some sanity.  having some friends over who we haven't seen together in years this evening, and then church tomorrow, and a christmas party with the church board and spouses after that.

oh, gotta run, I think that's my parents at the door.  speaking of which, my dad is setting up a blog, finally.  I'll put up a link when I get the green light.

merry Christmas, all.  definitely an event worth celebrating for all 12 days, don't you think? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

mystic believer priest

ok, so you've got to check this out.  my Uncle Bill has a new blog called mystic believer priest.  it's feisty, to hear my dad describe it.  doesn't pull any punches.  maybe kind of like a new martial art form.  here's a taste, just to get you curious (from his first post, dated December 11) :

This freedom. This frightening, exciting nakedness before him. In him. Around him. This dancingness in his presence.

And dancing here. There. All around. I don’t want him removed. Obscured. I don’t want someone telling me that I can’t dance. That I can’t dance naked in his presence. I don’t want someone turning off the music. I don’t want someone trying to talk over the music. I don’t want someone trying to tell me to sit down please and let me tell you what God is all about.

And so I’m tired. I’m tired of ministers and pastors and priests. Aren’t you?

Now that you mention it, yes I am.  dancing is so much better than stopping the dance, any day.  every day.

He wrote a great book, too, called Taking Note: A Year At Home With Strangers.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


well, when we arrived at church, Tom and Cathy (who just arrived back from spending a week with the Mercy Response team in New Orleans at 11 pm last night) were waiting outside the church doors to get in.   arriving shortly after them was Lynn, and then three high school students, followed by Nick, Jon, Cathy, and Sara.  seemed only fitting, since we were all there, to spend some time worshipping, so Ronni turned on the keyboard and led us in some singing.  Tom and Kim arrived midway through, and then Heather, Xander, and Matthias.

After singing for about 20 minutes, we read most of the 1st chapter of Luke while the kids ran around the sanctuary.  Then we shared prayer requests and prayed for each other, watched a video I'd prepped for the message (that we'll save for next year), and closed with a song.

All in all, 10 who hadn't gotten the message plus 7 of us who were there just in case.  Not to mention Jesus, who most certainly wasn't kept away by the storm. 

Here's a couple of pictures (the iPhone doesn't take great shots in low light) from before some of the late comers arrived.



worship services canceled this morning

just a heads up for those of you with RSS readers that might not get the word otherwise: the Vineyard Church of Milan will not be having worship services this morning due to the weather.  read the first couple of chapters of the book of Luke with your family, give thanks to God, and have fun shoveling!

on a side note, a couple of years ago the church got us a snowblower as a pastor appreciation gift.  that sure has been a gift that keeps on giving!


looks like a friend plowed a path from our driveway, through town, to the church for us.  so Ronni and the kids and I are going to head over to the church building in case anyone shows up.  kind of curious if anyone will be there...  I'll report back later.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

new(ish) links

if you haven't browsed the 'links' or 'friends' section of the blog recently, you may have missed a couple of new and noteworthy updates.

one is the vineyard blogroll & aggregator.  it's been dormant for a while now, but someone new has picked up the concept and moved it forward.  it's kind of cool - lists a whole bunch of blogs from people connected to Vineyard churches.  if you're part of a vineyard church and have a blog, consider being a part of it and expanding the community. at the very least, check it out.

another is Stephanie's new blog.  She and her husband and son are part of our home group. her first post is about the advent prayer hour (see 'sacred space / sacred time' below).  speaking of which, Amy (also part of our home group) has a great post on that today as well.

and finally, the 'friends' section has a link to Rachel's blog now, too.  Rachel is a member of our local church who is serving on staff at a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base in Ghana.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

sacred space / sacred time

the sweetness of the advent prayer hour this morning got me thinking about the sacred.

the idea of the sacred is mysterious to me.  I'm learning to appreciate it a great deal more than I ever have, but the mystery of it only thickens.

("sacred": from the Latin for "holy", meaning set apart or separated to God, same root as "consecrated")

in Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman (John 4), he announces the good news that God, who is breath/wind/spirit, is and will be worshiped no longer only on a mountain, but now everywhere breath is breathed, everywhere wind blows, everywhere spirit is present.

now that the kingdom has arrived and is arriving, in other words, the whole world is being made sacred.  humanity included, thankfully, allowing us to worship "in spirit and in truth."  certainly newsworthy - something genuinely new, a fundamental restoration of the creation taking place.  and certainly good news - subverting many footholds for evil, flinging wide open the door to favor, the reality of forgiveness.

but in no way, I think, diminishing the power of the sacred - rather, increasing it's possibilities without diluting it's potency.  everything now has an inevitable sacredness - all will be set apart for God when the kingdom comes in it's fullness; all, that is, that is purified, redeemed...all that remains that is good and true, touched by the life of the ages. and even now we can, it seems, by the authority we have as image bearers, as Jesus' agents in the world, confer sacredness on space and time.

when we do, the power of it is surprisingly palpable.  like this morning during the advent prayer hour.  the space made sacred: a building breathing, resonating with decades of singing, prayer, scripture, sermons, and love; candles glowing and flickering, lovingly lit; music ebbing and flowing, carefully chosen; words well used by saints coupled with beautiful images displayed on the screen.  the time made sacred: people rising early, gathering before the gathering light; given to a single holy purpose; made pregnant by silence. 

invariably, in the center of such sacred time and space, God appears.  having already been there, of course. but making himself known.  as we make ourselves known to him. bowing towards him, to kiss. a lovely beginning.