Monday, July 25, 2016

I Should Have Known . . . and other thoughts on a Monday

In my sermon yesterday I used the example of a coral snake and a corn snake, two snakes that look alike, but one you don't want around (coral snake, poisonous) and one you do (corn snake (good and helpful). The point was that sometimes we see what God sends us as a coral snake (harmful) and not a corn shake (helpful). But Jesus promises that the Father gives only good gifts to His children - even if we cannot see aright.

Well, I guess I could have used a different example also - email. Sometimes you get an email that look fine, but turns out to be harmful. Sometimes its hard to tell the difference. It happened to me last night and I got tricked. Fortunately, what happened to me doesn't appear too malicious and was taken care of by a password change. It could have been worse. I should have known better. I usually do know better. Let your guard or better judgment down for one moment . . .


But that's how evil works, isn't it?

Today (after fixing my email problem and sending out apologetic emails to everyone who got a bad email from me!) was hymn picking day. I didn't get a far as I hoped, but did make progress. This is a tough time of year for picking hymns, for there are readings and Sundays that just no one has written hymns for! So it is quite difficult to try to select hymns that will fit the readings and strengthen the message of that Sunday. But if I can just get through October, it gets much easier for a while. Reformation, All Saints, End of the Church Year, Advent, Christmas - lots of good hymns to pick from then!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Vacation Bible School

Last week we held our Vacation Bible School. It is always a full, fun, and exhausting week. We have a lot of fun and the kids learn a lot. Here are so pictures for you:

Early arrivers playing a game:


Our teachers:



Games:


Learning activities:



Crafts:


More fun:


Offering - We collected $440 for The Hope Academy (a school for orphans) in Kenya!


Some of our children:







Our snack providers and preparers!


Thanks everybody who helped make it a great week!



Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ain't It The Way

So last week while I was at Higher Things, the air conditioner in our home decided to stop working. Repairman cannot come until Friday. So this week? Yup - the hottest days of the year so far, every day in the 90s with high humidity. :-(


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

No!


No!
No, no, no!
Funerals are not about you. They're about Jesus.
They're not about what you have done, they're about what Jesus has done for you.
When you die, if I do your funeral, I will say what a horrible sinner you were, and that will not be a lie, and nothing you can do can change that.
But then I will also say that Jesus came to die for sinners, that He died for you, and that you are therefore His child, unworthy as you are, and an heir of everlasting life. And that will be the truth.

So I say let's make a t-shirt that says this: Jesus died and rose for you so the preacher won't have to lie at your funeral.
That's better.
And the truth.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Higher Things - Day 4 and the Ride Home

Well, the last day of Higher Things means wrapping up, packing, Matins, one final plenary, and one final Divine Service. So first, some fun at breakfast:



Higher Things potatoes!


Last morning grogginess.

During the week, all the groups were divided up into four teams to compete against each other for points. You could get points for sending in evaluations, winning free time activities, lots of ways. The four groups were named after the four living creatures of Revelation 4, which also represent the four Evangelists. We (the only church from Virginia!) were place into team Bos, the Ox. And during the announcements before the last plenary, lookie who won . . .


And below, some other conference information:


Then after lunch, packing, and loading the car, it was the closing Divine Service, at which my daughter played the violin.


Then time to start the drive home. We try to go a good way Friday night and so not leave too much left for Saturday. Well, being a holiday weekend, both times had plenty of traffic. We didn't get to bed until about 1 am on Friday night / Saturday morning, and then up and on the road again by 8:30. Finally landed home at 3 pm.

While in Tennessee, we saw this sign. They just have a way of saying things in the South!


And how tired? This tired!


But that means it was a good week! Lots of worship, lots of learning, lots of fun, but not a lot of sleep. There'll be time to catch up on that later. :-)

Next year, it looks like North Carolina for us - a bit closer to home! Looking forward to it already . . .

Friday, July 1, 2016

Higher Things - Day 3

My calves are sore. I can't remember the last time I had sore calves. I guess the last time I walked this much in a week. :-)

The day started, as usual, with breakfast . . .


No, this breakfast of champions was not MY breakfast! His or her identity will remain secret . . .

After Matins, we then had our final two breakaway sessions. I taught my second.


This picture doesn't do it justice. The room was really wide so you can only see about half the room here. If I knew how to take a picture while moving the camera (can't remember what that's called!) that would've been better. But this was a REALLY nice room to be in, and the second session went much better than the first.

I also met a couple of people here who had been on Morning Prayer with us from time to time. :-) That's always fun.

We also took some more group pictures:




Kitty also sang in the choir:


Pastor William Weedon was the plenary speaker today - nice to have him here. During free time, there was a "Find the Vicar" competition which was fun. Lots of planning and plotting going on with that one. Sadly, we didn't get to use Destry's duck tape to capture him, but still . . .

Also, as usual, I get to meet a lot of old pastor friends here:


Pastor Rock - basketball teammate


Pastors Phillips and Kieslowsky (Philly guy!)


Pastor Porath - another basketball teammate


Pastor Grams - former SELC guy


Dr. Fickenscher from the seminary

So one more day . . . A light schedule, but then the long drive home - losing an hour too! :-( But "Higher Things after dark" in the van, after dinner . . . every year I don't think I laugh as hard as I do at something during these times! But don't ask me to tell you about it. You have to be there. What happens in the van stays in the van! ;-)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Higher Things - Day 2

Day 2 was a busy day. We are getting better at navigating the campus, but the walks are still way long! In addition to the plenary session in the morning, we had three breakaway sessions to go to. Here are some pictures for you . . .


Here's what our chapel for the week looks like. It is inside the fieldhouse, hence the football field we're on!




Three pictures of waiting for services to begin . . .


Here is George - yes, George our seminarian/vicar  is here! - teaching his breakaway section.


Here is yours truly at the end of my breakaway section last night, flexing my muscles! 

My breakaway went just okay, I thought. A bit rough. Part of the problem was that Evening Prayer ended just five minutes before it was to begin, but there is a 15-20 minute walk to get to it! Then we had trouble getting the hook-up to the projector to work, so I got started kind of late and it threw things off kilter for a bit. I'll get another chance to teach it this afternoon.


We got a group photo (almost - one missing!), but it didn't turn out the best. I think we might try again today to get a better one.


And then part of the entertainment last night was a petting zoo! Patagonian Cavis and all!

Then, as if that weren't enough, after getting back to the dorm around 10 pm, played some frisbee in the dark and then I led Compline for some groups in our dorm at 11:30. So . . . not a lot of sleep last night! But a good day. :-)