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Keeping up with Christy

Preaching at the 9:30 AM service Sunday, December 3 at First Presbyterian Church in Virginia City.


 Preaching at the 11 AM service Sunday, December 17 at Valley Presbyterian Church in Bishop, CA

 

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Friday
Apr062012

The Naked Truth About Leaving Messages

“What’s the best way get in touch with Allan?” The owner of the business was asking in person the same question one of his employees asked me by phone yesterday. I guessed what had happened. The employee is infamous for leaving the generic message: “Hi. Call me back. Thanks.”

Cell phone address books and caller-id have almost made the “call me back” message extinct. The redundancy of this “call me” voice message is witnessed even by this old-school employee still fighting to preserve it in the wild: by not including the phone number to call back. (Even the caller knew it was on caller-id!)

I might have rolled my eyes, but since I did recommend Allan, I called him myself. When I got his voice mail; I left this message: “Hi! This is Christy. Sam wants to give you money. He has work for you. If you want money call him at…” and I held out my phone towards my visitor to repeat his cell number. Twice.

After I put my phone away, Sam asked “So you think he will…” and then looked at his pocket. It was Allan calling him. I waved good bye as he walked out discussing problems to solve and money to make.

I thought about the messages the church sign leaves for the world. Usually we offer messages they already know, our caller ID label, “GOODYEAR HEIGHTS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH”. Often we leave a judgement, “CH CH WHAT’S MISSING? U R”.  Sometimes, we post a chore: “WORSHIP 9 AM”. Rarely do we leave a message that we have good news that will profit them: “THIS IS WHERE GOD IS LOVE”

Determining the gospel and life of a congregation from a signboard message is as difficult as gauging the profit potential of a generic voice message. Yet it is somewhere between depressing and tragic if folks miss the opportunity of a life of meaning and purpose because churches don’t leave a message that we have something useful and worthy of a response. After the first Easter, Jesus was revealed as the Lord not by proclaimations, puns, or pressure but by offering how to fix a basic and urgent need: filling empty fishing nets for some hungry workers.

Hope Easter leaves you a good message…one that profits you when you respond.

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea.

- John 21:1-7

Bible quotation from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995
by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

Thursday
Mar082012

Enrichment

Some rights reserved by Patricia van CasterenThe apes at the Cleveland zoo get newspapers at meal times. I thought that was odd. Do the younger ones friend each other on Apebook?

I was confused by how interested the primates were in getting deep into the morning edition until I realized that lunch was wrapped in the newspaper tubes. They had to tear the paper apart to get their meal. 

The reason for their frustration was explained by one of the attendants. When the zookeepers hide the food they provide for the animals it isn’t teasing them. According the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo website they are providing them with enrichment which addresses “an animal’s social, psychological and physical needs.” It just looks like teasing. I can’t wait to tell my grown children that all those years I was enriching their lives not teasing them. Well, maybe I can wait.

Teasing isn’t a major focus in the Bible, but tempting (sometimes tranlsated “testing”) might be thought of as extreme teasing. Do you feel teased/tempted/tested by God? Mother Teresa of Calcutta who spent her life working with the poor, said, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

When life gets a little stress-filled, I mean “enriched”, I sometimes think of when I visited a hosptial bound member during a hectic week. We reflected that she would love to be out running around with too much to do…while I would love to just spend the day in bed.

I hope you experience today as enriched by God.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

- 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 

Bible quotation from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Feb292012

Leap the Day

Hope today is a good day for you! It is extra one, Leap Day! 

Me, Mom, and Tom with Tim (on screen)My brother, Tim, is on the other side of the world from me in Tokyo, Japan. He is also on the other side of the clock, 14 hours ahead of my time. Last year, he video conferenced with the family during our Thanksgiving dinner and his “Black Friday” breakfast. We were together in different days.

Did you know period of time “day” is tough to pin down? It could be:

  • midnight to midnight
  • evening to sunset
  • dawn to sunset
  • dawn to dawn

Some Christian religious festivals are celebrated from the evening before the “day” (Christmas Eve) and others at dawn (Easter Sunrise). We all have celebrated “New Year’s Day” at midnight and talked about the end of the day as when the sun sets.

Years ago, after a particularly hectic morning, my young daughter declared through her sobs, “This is a bad day!” I told her that the morning was bad, but we could start the day anytime we wanted; so, we are starting a new day right now…and this day is a good one! She wiped away her tears and agreed to start a new day, at least emotionally.

I hope you are glad and rejoice in this day that the Lord has made. If it is a bad one, leap now to a good one.

Wednesday
Feb222012

Behind the Scene

Many people liked the photo of Bette Lynn and me in front of a heart sign from last week’s post. Some commented on the weight I’ve lost since last May, others on how happy we looked, a couple wanted to know about the sign and the Cove Haven resort where “Loved Lived”.

Ray Simpson performing with the Village People at Cove Haven Resort in 2011But the most interesting part of the photo cannot be seen anywhere in the photo but is a critical part of it: The Photographer. I’ve asked the person who took this photo to raise his hand.

Yes, that is Ray Simpson. In addition to being our vacation photographer, he is the “cop” and lead singer of the Village People.

This is how we got our picture taken by such an icon. We wanted to have a picture by the heart sign at the resort.

As I stood by the sign, Bette Lynn walked back the path and asked the couple walking behind us if they would take our picture by the sign. She offered the man our camera. Posing awkwardly by the large heart sign, I wondered what was taking so long. Instead of taking the camera, the man just looked at the camera in confusion. Finally, the woman with him, explained the project to him, “They want YOU to take THEIR picture.” That explanation helped! He smiled, said “Oh!” and good naturally took several photos of us. He had us review the pictures and while we were, offered to take more if we wanted. We declined his thoughtful offer and thanked him.

We thought nothing more of the hesitant turned enthusiastic photographer until he walked out on stage that night with the rest of the Village People. Bette Lynn, leaned over to me and shouted above the roar of cheers and song: “The cop took our picture!” I was confused now, (he had a microphone not a camera) then I realized the one who was working behind the scene was now stage front.

Looking at the photo, even being in the photo, doesn’t tell the whole story of who is involved in the big picture.

Hope you look behind the camera and get to meet who is working behind the scene.

Behind What A Camera Sees

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Scripture taken from The Message.
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.
Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group

Thursday
May011980

Dear Reverend Righteous

When I was a student at Grove City College I was a guest on the Sunday night college radio comedy show. Or rather, my alter ego, Reverend Righteous, “supported” the Christian college’s policies and the rules of Student Affairs office. Recently I found some scripts of those live broadcasts…

Quiet Contemplation

Dear Reverend Righteous,

The campus library is so noisy. I can’t get my studying done. To top it off people actually talk in chapel and I can’t concentrate on such deep spiritual lessons taught there like Hocus Pocus Review, and Student Government Election speeches.

Signed, Typical Grover

Dear Grover,

I can sympathize with you. The chapel programs such as Soccer 76-77, and Mr. Hagstrom’s talk on extension cords and hair dryers have been a source of continuing spiritual renewal for me and a great help in my Christian growth.

I recommend that all others coming into Chapel and the library be fitted with prayer gags. Pieces of holy cloth printed with Grove City College’s rules for personal morals. This will accomplish two purposes. First it will quiet down the library and chapel and will shove Grove City College’s morality down everyone’s throat.

I don’t take credit for this wonderful idea. They must have been used before because people have been gagging on Grove City College’s rules for a long time. 


The Cross Eyed Bear

Dear Reverend Righteous,

Is it ture that the bigger the cross you wear the better Christian you are?

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering,

I say NO! The measure of a good Christian is the size of the Bible he carries and whether or not he wears a jacket and tie to Sunday lunch. 


Conflicted

Dear Rev. Righteous,

Is it alright to shack up with your girlfriend on Saturday night, then go to church the next day?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried,

Yes! It is alright, but ONLY if you take the girl to church with you. 


Darkness

 Dear Rev. Righteous,

Why is Calderwood Hall so dark?

Signed, Lost

Dear Lost,

I don’t know but since those who have walked in darkness has seen a great light, the reasoning might be that by making the halls dark they are actually lighting them.


Carded at Heaven’s Gate?

 Dear Reverend Righteous,

Is it true that St. Peter requires Chapel Cards to enter heaven?

Signed, Prepared

Dear Prepared,

No, God does not measure your religious belief by a holely card.


God’s Frat

 Dear Reverend Righteous,

Does God want me to join a Frat? 

Signed, Confused

Dear Confused,

First, let me tell you the rumor that God is a Phi Tau is False. He received a bid, but He turned it down. (Actualy, he would have been a Nu Lamb be He kept stepping out of His clogs.)

I would advise you to join a Fratnerity and try to convert them to righteousness…Reverend Righteous that is, rates are very reasonable.

That’s all for this week, keep those chapel cards and letters coming folks!