Saturday, October 15, 2016

Update on 90s songs for sermon titles

9/11/16.   “Losing My Religion” R.E.M. (1991)  - Luke 15:1-10

9/18/16 "Nice Guys Finish Last" (1997) Green Day - Luke 16:1-13

9/25/16 "Heart- shaped box". Nirvana - 1 Timothy 6:6-19

10/2/16 "Don't look back in anger, Oasis - Luke 17:5-19 & 2 Timothy 1:1-10

10/9/16 "Save yourself" - Stabbing Westward" (1998) - Luke 17:11-19

10/16/16 “How Do You Talk To An Angel” The Heights (1992) - Genesis 32:22-31, Lk 18:1-8

It's fun and there are so many to choose from. The challenging part is figuring out where I'm going in enough time to pick the title. I had to google this last one but once I watch the video I remembered it. Here's one of the videos. 


Monday, September 12, 2016

New Week, New Idea

I came up with the inspiration last week of naming my sermon "Losing My Religion" after R.E.M.'s 1991 hit. Then I wondered, "What if I named all my fall sermons from 90's song titles?" Just going through my iTunes I found loads of options and created a potential list. But if you have a favorite, send me the title.
Meanwhile, maybe I can create a sidebar for the list. Next week's could be

By the way, I linked to the official music videos but haven't watch them lately or yet. So I can't vouch for the content. :-)

Off to lectionary group to see how this idea flies!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Spiritual Time Off - a gift for fall

I just wrote someone that time off is sometimes the best spiritual gift!. September is such a busy time for families and workers. Everyone seems to feel the "Back to school/work/session". I wonder if we feel it more in Washington DC?

This week actually feels a little better than last week, but there's still so much to do, just not as much running around. Since there is so much sitting, reading and typing to go along with planning and fall events, I am trying to keep up a daily workout that became more part of my life in July when I was on vacation. It feels good. But it sure is hot, so I'm going to an AC gym thanks to Arlington's 55+ "Gold" plan and their senior/community centers.

Funny how much of the work I'm doing will include recommending people take time for spiritual outings, spiritual classes, etc. So this Friday we cancelled a Young Adult meal and discussion. Perhaps the time will be the best spiritual gift of all.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Sermon Writing

After a month of wonderful community worship where I preached once and shared leadership for worship one service, I'm now back to study and writing a message. How quickly one gets out of the habit. Fortunately, our lectionary group kept meeting during this month. Each Monday we reviewed the scriptures and shared observations, insights, and ideas for preaching. What an awesome group for which I am very grateful.

Meanwhile, it has been a 'catch-up' month for visits and admin. I should no longer be surprised that then end of August through September is some of my busiest time. Planning for fall. Even though the days of "Rally Day" kick-offs at church are long gone. (I am old enough to remember them.) There is still an increase in programs to plan, even for a small church. We have the re-start of Intergenerational Sunday School once per month called "Big Sunday". Regular classes on Sunday resume and since we are small, it is a challenge to create some function form of Christian education that appeals and works for most people, while maintaining enough of the 'old school' classes to satisfy those who prefer the familiar ways. And our twice a month podcast Dunker Punks Podcast  continues. So life is full.

I'm trying to maintain an increased level of physical workouts that I managed for a good bit of the summer. That too is a challenge. Yoga at church on Wednesdays (5:45 pm) helps because Wednesdays are always full to overflowing days.

I keep getting notices on my Apple Watch from a project app that I have 67 "To Dos" awaiting me. Guess I haven't cleared those in a while! (Like maybe all summer?) I'm afraid to look.

I do enjoy planning worship, a lot! It may be my favorite thing of all. So now, that I've completed most of my reading, if I can create a message that challenges and brings us closer to God.  No small task.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Great Days fade fast

Last Friday's retreat day at National Cathedral was wonderful. I "wasted" a little time recording a podcast that didn't record properly but it was still a lovely day. This week, back to meetings, conference calls, visits, appointments, planning...but not a full sermon for one last week of Community Worship. It has been delightful in so many ways.

To see a full sanctuary each week, to visit a different church and hear a different preacher, to get to know others from our neighbor churches, this is the delight of August in Arlington, VA. So many have told me they want us to continue to do this! and perhaps best of all, the choir! A real community choir of full strength (for small churches) is a real gift.

This coming Sunday (27th) we meet at Lubber Run Park Amphitheater followed by a picnic at the pavilion. Another delight.

Meanwhile there is so much fall planning to do. I'm still struggling to design some meaningful Christian education in a format that works for today's churchgoers. How do I structure time beyond Sunday worship when it is so hard to get people to come any other time? (Unless there is food or a service project involved.) So we are working on some book group ideas that alternate, using Brethren Voices TV, maybe a Bible study where people bring their questions for us to wrestle with, and some engagement with Messenger magazine, our denomination magazine. Planning this (along with monthly "Big Sunday" which is Intergenerational) takes more time than I seem to have. But that's the work of summer's end and early fall. = Always!

For now, memories of a day of sabbath rest, worship, and quiet.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Spiritual Retreat

Spiritual Retreat Days are a part of my contract. I am to take one per month. I love the idea of renewal and refreshment on a monthly basis...but it doesn't happen. When your week is portioned out by scripture groups, regular visits, stops at the gym for fitness, evening meetings, weekly study of scripture, sermon writing, worship planning and scheduled appointments, it is hard to find a whole day to free up. Somehow that seems a luxury for which there is never enough time. What do I give up? Who do I put off, not visit, when does the sermon writing happen? and How can I write a sermon without spending a day reading and studying the scripture and other resources?

But today I plan to go off on retreat.

It's only a day, or maybe part of a day. (Just heard about impending traffic snarls this afternoon.) But I'm about to pack my backpack with writing, and some reading, some earphones and lots of water. I so need a time of renewal to take away the snarky negativity that has built since Annual Conference. Feeling that this is more like a doctor appointment that's needed than excited anticipation. That tells me a lot!

Here goes...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Mornings

Some Sunday mornings you are surprised by a call; major sickness in a member.
Some Sunday mornings you sit in prayer and then review your sermon.
Some Sunday mornings you read the central point...and realize you might have failed to actually make it your central point.

Thanks Eric Barreto.
“The Way” is a powerful metaphor for Christian identity. Instead of being identified by a set of beliefs, these faithful communities were known by their character in the world

Christian faith was a way of life and one that impelled individuals and communities to leave the safe confines of home and church to walk on the road God had set out. “The Way” suggests that faith is a living, active way of life.” (