Monday, January 26, 2009

January 26: MMC (Monday Morning Check-in)

The weekend that was:  What a wonderful weekend.  I spent the day Saturday with the family, nothing too exciting, just putting away Christmas decorations (finally).  It was good to spend time together, without a lot of running around.  Sunday morning was incredible.  We celebrated Consecration Sunday at Wesley Freedom.  This was the Sunday on which we asked those who support Wesley Freedom, to make a financial estimate of giving for 2009.  The focus was a bit different this year.  Rather than focus on the Church's budgetary needs, we focused on the givers need to give, as a spiritual discipline, with an eye on the question, "What is God calling me to give?"  So far, we have received more estimate of giving cards in one day, than we did through several weeks last year - Praise God.  We also had a celebration brunch following both services, as a way to say "thank you" for the support of the members and friends of the church.  As I wandered around the CLC (Community Life Center) there was joy and excitement in the conversations I overheard.  There is a mighty spirit at work at Wesley Freedom.  I believe God has some great things in store for us.  It is evident it the announcement the Missions Team made, concerning Pennies for Peace.  We have been collecting pennies since September 2007.  We announced that we had raised over $600, just in pennies.  We then heard about two people who came forward, each matching what we raised.  Again, praise God.  We also had some fun during worship, at my expense, as I had to wear a Steelers hat, since the Ravens lost to them.  I spent the rest of they day finishing the job of putting decorations away.

Where I am at the moment: working from the home office.  Carroll County schools are closed today, so I am spending the day with my daughter.

On my to-do list this week: I have several meetings this week.  I am also continuing to plan for Lent and Easter.

Procrastinating about: Not much of anything.

Books I’m in the midst of: I'm still reading The Shack and catching up in my reading of Church is a Team Sport.

Media that seemed to catch my attention this past week:  I didn't spend a lot of time interacting with media this week.  

How i’m feeling about this week: I look forward to what this week will bring.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19: MMC (Monday Morning Check-In)

Okay, it isn't the morning, but I am still posting this on Monday. I just returned home from St. Louis, so this is my first opportunity to post my weekly check-in.

The weekend that was: I had a very exhausting weekend and end to last week. Last Tuesday (January 13) we received a call that Michelle's grandmother died. We quickly rearranged schedules and left for St. Louis Wednesday morning. It was good to see Michelle's mom and dad and her entire family. Her grandfather was doing well under the circumstances. Michelle's grandparents were married for 67 years, so there will adjustments. The funeral was Friday, and the family asked me to deliver the eulogy. I was very honored to be asked, and we celebrated Edna's life and the fact that she is now home with God. We also found out that Michelle's great aunt died on the January 13. This was her grandfather's sister, so her funeral was Saturday morning, also in St. Louis. We wanted to fly home Saturday, but all flights were sold out, on every airline coming into BWI. I think it was because of the Inauguration. The only flight we could get on Sunday was a very late flight so we waited until today to return. It is good to be home. I was very upset with Sunday's Raven's loss, although I could hear the screams of joy from the Steeler's fans at Wesley Freedom. I am a big man and give credit where credit is due, congratulations to the Steelers.

Where I am at the moment: sitting in my family room watching a little TV. Torie is a bit sad, missing her GiGi and Pawpy (Michelle's folks).

On my to-do list this week: It seems like I am going to play catch up this week. I have a few meetings. I am excited about Consecration Sunday. Why, you might ask? I am excited because of our approach. It would be easy to focus on the Church's needs and what we have to raise to meet the 2009 budget, but this is not our focus. This year we are asking each of us to prayerfully reflect on what is calling you to give this year. This should be our focus - our need to give as a spiritual discipline.

Procrastinating about: Not much of anything.

Books I’m in the midst of: I'm still reading The Shack, Jesus President.

Media that seemed to catch my attention this past week: I have been watching a lot of the coverage leading up to the Inauguration. I was particularly moved by the President Elect's visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.

How i’m feeling about this week: I am excited to get back to work.

A Prayer for the new President

No matter how you voted in the 2008 Presidential Election, the Inauguration of Barack Obama is a historic event. We have come a long way since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. No matter where you find yourself in the political spectrum, join me in praying for our new President and his family. I share with you a prayer written and delivered by the Rev. Dr. Ianther Marie Mills, Washington-East District Superintendent.

God of mercy and grace, as we stand at the threshold of new leadership for our nation, we pause to give thanks to you O Lord for the one who has led us; and we pause to ask that your grace might rest upon the one who will lead us forward!

We give thanks for President George W. Bush ... for his years of committed service. We give thanks for that which was accomplished under his leadership. Knowing that we are not only defined by what we have done but also what we will do, we give thanks for what he is still becoming in your hands. Bless President Bush and first lady Laura Bush as they bid farewell to this time of service and prepare to begin another season of their life journey.

As one leaves and another assumes the office of President, we are mindful that this is a turning point in the history of our nation. Mindful that this is a defining moment, mindful that the road may not be easy, mindful that this President takes office at a time when the nation faces many challenges! But, for many, hope is in the air! Expectations are high! And, the bar has been raised!

Therefore, we pray for President Barack Obama and his term of office. May he lead this nation with wisdom and insight, with courage and perseverance, with mercy and justice, with passion and compassion, with clarity of purpose, and with the fear of God! May he be a leader for all people! May he be a leader of integrity and conviction! Let his "No" be "No"; and let his "Yes" be "Yes"!

He is one who dared to have the audacity to hope ... to hope for change. We too hope for change! We hope for change in turbulent times. We hope for change in economic uncertainty. We hope for a change in disparate treatment. We hope for peace in a time of war. But most of all we hope for the reign of God! May that hope be born! May that hope be realized! May that new day come!

And now, O God, lead and guide your servant Barack Obama! Lead and guide us as a people by your grace! May we all be the change we want to see, created, recreated, transformed, strengthened and sustained by your Holy Spirit! Amen

How will you mark this historic event? What are you including in your prayers?

Monday, January 12, 2009

MMC (Monday Morning Check-In)

I read a lot of blogs, and came across this idea of a way to debrief and look forward to the upcoming week. Hopefully, each Monday, I will share this post.

The weekend that was: It was good to be back in worship, following two Sunday's off. I really missed the feeling of community I get when I am with the congregation. Of course I was excited by the Raven's win and I knew in the back of my mind that the Steelers would also win. Next Sunday's match up should be exciting. As I continue to reflect on my sermon, and I hope you do as well, I am still struck by the idea of "baptismal living". What can I do that reflects my relationship and commitment to God?

Where i am at the moment: sitting in my office. Thinking warm thoughts in the midst of a very cold day. The children in the EYLC (Early Years Learning Center) were being entertained by a puppet show - it was wonderful to hear their laughter wafting through the building.

On my to-do list this week: I have to get caught up on some paper work. I have a number of meetings this week and some more prep work to do for Consecration Sunday.

Procrastinating about: The paper work i need to do.

Books I’m in the midst of: The Shack, Jesus President.

Media that seemed to catch my attention this past week: I really haven't had time to pay attention to this very much during the past week

How i’m feeling about this week: A little on edge - my wife's grandmother is in Hospice and we are waiting for "THE CALL". I have been asked to help with the funeral, so we will be heading out to St. Louis at some point...not sure when.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

So it's a new year...

Since I returned from vacation, which was very relaxing, everyone I run into has been wishing me a Happy New Year. Not only is this a thoughtful greeting, but it is a hopeful prayer. I do pray this year is happy. But I remind myself, that happiness is not determined by the situations or circumstances in which I find myself. True happiness, for me, comes in knowing that I am loved by God and God has a purpose for my life.

So it is a new year, NOW WHAT? I usually don't make New Year's resolutions, but this year I want to resolve to blog more. I think it is a wonderful way to share my thoughts, and be in conversation with you.

Next Monday (January 12), I will debut a new weekly feature to my blog, Monday Morning Check-in. Stay tuned for that. As always, if there is something you would like to get my take on or hear my random thoughts about, please let me know.