Friday, September 29, 2006

One great piece of mischief has been done by the modern restriction of the word temperance to the question of drink. It helps people to forget that you can be just as intemperate about lots of other things. A man who makes his golf or his motor bicycle the center of his life, or a woman who devotes all her thoughts to clothes or bridge or her dog, is being just as intemperate as someone who gets drunk every evening. Of course, it does not show on the outside so easily: bridge-mania or golf-mania do not make you fall down in the middle of the road. But God is not deceived by externals.
C. S. Lewis

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Come, Light serene and still;
Our darkened spirits fill
With Thy clear day.
Guide of the feeble sight,
Star of grief's darkest night,
Reveal the path of right,
Show us Thy way.

French Prayer (11th century)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Do they?

People don't want to experience church. They want to experience God's presence.
Jim L. Wilson, Future Church

One of our readers liked very much the mushroom picture from a week or so ago; so, here's another.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Good Morning!

Columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. I knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.
Spurgeon wrote likewise:
If you are not seeking the Lord, the Devil is seeking you. If you are not seeking the Lord, judgment is at your heels.
In the Christian life, it's not enough simply to wake up. We are called to run, to become more like Christ, to press ahead in godliness.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

John R.W. Stott once admitted the truth that many of us have felt but failed to confess:
The thing I know will give me the deepest joy -- namely, to be alone and unhurried in the presence of God, aware of His presence, my heart open to worship Him -- is often the thing I least want to do.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

confused? unprepared?

Charlie Brown says to Linus, "Life is just too much for me. I've been confused from the day I was born. I think the whole trouble is that we're thrown into life too fast. We're not really prepared."
And Linus responds, "What did you want ... a chance to warm up first?"

There is another option. See you in church tomorrow!

Friday, September 22, 2006

some good quotes that got cut from next Sunday's sermon

What we love to do we find time to do.
-- John Lancaster Spalding

Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.
-- Jose Ortega y Gasset

You can't make footprints in the sands of time sitting down.

-- anonymous

apple orchard in the rain

TULIP: a brief summary of Calvinism

For a short outline of what Calvinists believe, click here.

more from pray the news

Tragedy, more than joy, turns our hearts and minds to God. It is a time of need and a time of vulnerability. We need to know someone is there for us-someone whose wisdom is beyond ours, but in whom we trust. And if we have faith, we believe that God is for us.

Pray the News

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What's In A List?

In an episode of West Wing, Donna, a White House staffer, was asked to review case histories of inmates who had been imprisoned by mandatory minimums. There were 36 names on the list. They were nonviolent offenders with no previous felonies. Grudgingly, Donna plows through the files of case histories for each of those who were listed. The intent was to pick six or seven so that the president could pardon them. When the time came to choose the lucky few, Donna refused to be part of the selection process. Her comment was, "They are not a list anymore, they are persons."

That comment resonated within me. How often do I fail to see persons behind lists? Persons designated as troops . . . candidates . . . democrats . . . republicans . . . drug offenders . . . death-row inmates. The categories could go on and on. It was a wake-up call for me. Persons have families, histories, all the successes and failures of everyday living. I pray that I remember that, the next time I encounter a "list."

It is easier to see a group as an enemy than an individual. I try to get inside the thoughts, hopes, and feelings of the individual. Periodically in my life, I've gotten upset with a group. But then when I go through people one by one, that disappears. There's nobody there that I feel that way about. The true nature of the human being is "unconditional love." This holy place awaits our entry. In any threatening and disappointing situation, try to find an energy you can move with. I have no real enemies -- only teachers who call me to grow.

Pray the News

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You, O LORD, are my lamp,

my God who lightens my darkness.

Psalm 18:29 (Grail)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another site integrating religion with technology here.

Who is Jesus?

"When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels."
Brian McLaren, leader of the “emerging church” movement and founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Montgomery County, Md.

flowers by the road

I am between congregations, but thankfully ensconced only in my home office. While in this
between state, it has been a joy to fill in for other pastors from time to time.

This Sunday, September 24, I will be leading the services at Beaver Lake Lutheran Church in Maplewood, Minnesota.

The title of my message is
Swim With The Sharks. For service times and directions click here.

I look forward to seeing you!

church attendance

Only about 20% of the people in the U.S. attend church on a regular basis. These numbers are lower than previous estimates. Six out of ten unchurched people consider themselves to be Christian. Out of this group, the largest number are Catholic (29%), while 18 percent identify themselves as Baptist. Of the remaining unchurched, 77 percent say they are "absolutely or moderately" committed to Christianity. more

Monday, September 18, 2006

another sign of fall

Sunday, September 17, 2006

technology in religion blog

I have a weakness for tech. & electronic gadgets. Now there is a blog for me -- and all who are interested in using technology in religion: The Gadget Pastor Take a look here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

[Jesus] answered: "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted."
Matthew 15:13

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This is what the Lord God showed me -- a basket of summer fruit. Amos 8:1

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Are you carrying rocks?

Do the rocks you carry weigh you down?
Read Abbot Thomas' observations about these rocks and his advice here.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

As summer flies by
on fast blurry wings, I feel

So I touch- I smell..
I try to absorb all things-
Shadows of beauty.

Wood Song

the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these

click here

Friday, September 08, 2006

Red-winged Blackbirds gathering to head south for the winter.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

They ... weave the spider's web;

Their webs cannot serve as clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.

Their works are works of iniquity,
and deeds of violence are in their hands.

Isaiah 59:5,6

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pray, and let God worry.
Martin Luther

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

autumn is coming to Springbrook

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Sunday, September 03, 2006

TV news depressing?

Read Abbot Thomas' way of dealing with the discouraging news on TV. here
Maybe we too should consider this approach.

Sunday afternoon

state fair

St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minnesota

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I am God, and there is no one like me,

... calling a bird of prey from the east.

Isaiah 46:9, 11

"Christian" anti-semitism

The following is from an Orthodox Jewish blog:

One of our avid readers brought the following quote to my attention. It doesn’t say anything we don’t already know, but it should humble us mere mortals who would never put things so elegantly and economically.

The author is James Lileks, who usually writes for the Minneapolis StarTribune. The topic is the leadership of the Presbyterian Church USA, the first mainline group of Protestants to push for divestment from Israel two years ago, until thwarted by a palace revolt by members possessed of fairness, sanity, and a higher regard for Israel. ‘Nuf said.

But they’re [PCUSA’s leadership] not anti-Semites. Heavens, nay. Don’t you dare question their philosemitism! No, they looked at the entire world, including countries that lop off your skull if you convert to Presbyterianism, and what did they choose as the object of their ire? A country the size of a potato chip hanging on the edge of a region noted for despotism and barbarity. By some peculiar coincidence, it happens to be full of Jews.

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