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Showing posts from August, 2016

Massive Summer Movie Reviews!

Most of the time when a movie review is in the works, it just flows. So this post is very unusual. I am writing mini reviews of movies I watched during the latter part of the summer. I've been working on this post, mentally or actually typing, for weeks. There is still time to see most of these movies on the big screen, even if at your local dollar cinema-- or certainly on demand! Check them out this Labor Day weekend! Or not... Here they are, in no certain order:


Ghostbusters (2016)
I mentioned this movie in a recent sermon, so if you were here that Sunday this may sound familiar. I am a huge superfan of the original Ghostbusters, and when this was announced I had mixed feelings. I was glad for the all-female cast but didn't want the studio to mess with a cherished memory! The new movie is fun. It's good. It's worth seeing. What an amazing cast, and it looks fantastic. But the box office has been so disappointing that evidently Sony is not planning on developing the fr…

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

This summer our family has become big fans of The Flash, a TV series based on the DC superhero. The Flash exists in the same universe as other DC comics heroes, like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, etc. The Flash will have a role in the upcoming Justice Leaguemovie(s). Season Three of the TV series kicks off in October. We've watched the first two seasons over the last eight weeks or so on demand. Season One on Netflix, Season Two on Amazon.

You probably know, and can certainly guess from the image above, that The Flash is fast. I used to think he was the most boring superhero- how can running save people? And on his own The Flash would be mostly useless. But the best thing about the series is that Flash is not alone. He is part of a team, almost like Scooby Doo's pals in the Green Machine.


So say a villain with super powers shows up in Central City. Obviously The Flash is the most equipped to handle the situation, but how? Run laps around him? Cha…

Blessed Are the Teachers

The other night Christy and I went to Ft Worth to hear one of my favorite performers, the great Lyle Lovett. I have heard Lyle several times, but this was the first time at the wonderful Bass Concert Hall. It was an amazing show-- two and a half hours of great music, including some great gospel songs like I'll Fly Away and Do Not Pass Me By. If you've never heard him in concert, check him out next summer!

But my favorite part of the concert was not the music-- it was the storytelling. Throughout the show Lyle introduced the band members, most of whom he has played with for his 30+ years in music. He remembered where they met, where they first played together, a special piece of music they improvised at a random recording session in Phoenix decades ago. Musically and intellectually, the guy is a genius. He told a couple of very touching stories of important, influential men who had died recently: a musician/mentor and a teacher/principal. The way he spoke about both made a las…

New Opportunities

The kids were not too pleased yesterday when I informed them that there were only two days left in the summer. They should know by now that school is starting. Over the last couple of weeks we have:

bought school suppliesbought first day of school clothesregistered each for schooltoured new schoolsmet teachers and school counselorsearly morning football practice for Jamesbought Sherman t-shirts for football gamesWhy are we doing these things, people??? So whatever forces are feeding their denial, it's the real deal: school starts Monday. This Sunday is Back to School Sunday, where we will bless backpacks and pray for students, administrators, teachers, and staff. There is still time to invite someone to worship!
With the start of school, and after nearly two months, the Drenners are officially "settled in" to life in Sherman and Grace UMC. Last week I even finally hung up all of my artifacts on my office walls, after receiving some desk moving help from Jan, Rhonda, and …

Why Ordinary Time Matters

Over the years I have increasingly become more and more liturgical. For the first decade of my preaching ministry I preached sermon series. For the most part, I selected the topics, sometimes based on specific needs I had heard expressed within the congregation; other times they were topics I was personally interested or considered important. You can search my blog to find all kinds of examples of this approach, which culminated in my doctoral project in preaching. Last year in my previous appointment I launched a new worship service that was highly liturgical, including preaching from the assigned lectionary texts of the day. I even made it a goal to link all four texts together for the sermon. Since coming to Grace last month, I have continued my practice of preaching the lectionary, but only focusing on two texts.

One important aspect of liturgical practice are the seasons of the church calendar. There are the most familiar ones, Advent and Lent, but also Christmas, Easter, and Or…

Ready for Action!

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 Luke 12:32-40
The other day Christy had the idea to make the family a special dinner, since it was going to be the first time in a week or more when we all ate together. She thought I should make hamburgers on the grill. It was near lunchtime and I was already running errands, so I stopped by the store. Among other things, I bought: Bread for the boys’ lunches Hamburger buns Two pounds of meat Lipton onion soup mix Blue Bell ice cream A two liter bottle of soda for the boys
When I arrived home and began unloading, i expected to be greeted as a warrior returning home from a successful campaign, having voluntarily gone to the store for dinner stuff. Instead, Christy snickered. Why? Because she had gone to the store too, and, among other things, purchased: Bread for the boys’ lunches Hamburger buns Two pounds of meat Lipton onion soup mix Blue Bell ice cream A two liter bottle of soda for the boys
So now we were double stocked up for our dinner, which was wonderful. But it goes to s…

God Calls Us to Unity

Please note: I offered these thoughts at Custer Road's Youth Week this past Monday.
I joined social media in 2008, meaning this is my third online presidential election. Every day political opinion articles show up on my news feed. Or friends share their political opinions. I really joined Facebook for grandbaby pictures and to share church stuff, so elections are exhausting. And I am a political junkie. I would say it's comforting to know the election is less than 100 days away, but that just means the 2020 election kicks off in less than 100 days! 
The other day I was rolling through Facebook and a friend posted said this about Secretary Clinton: "She is not a UNIFIER!" Then someone else noted that Donald Trump, whose convention speech over and over said, "I alone can fix this," is hardly inviting unity either. And then I had this thought: it is probably unrealistic for us to place the burden of unifying a divided country in the hands of one person. It…

Stranger Things Are Happening to Me

Last week while Christy and James were gone on a choir tour with our previous church, I had some free time each night after putting Linus and Miles to bed. I started watching Stranger Things, the new original series on Netflix. I had read lots of buzz online about this series and I was interested, mostly because it is set in the 80s. I am not normally one for scary shows, but my curiosity got the better of me. After the first two episodes, I was hooked in a big way. And scared. I tweeted this that night:

Watching two episodes of #StrangerThings immediately before bed was not the smartest decision I made today. #sleepingwithlightson@netflix — Pastor Frank (@revfrankdrenner) July 29, 2016
It was, officially, a thing. Friday night I watched three hours. Saturday: two hours, even though I was preaching the next morning. I never stay up late on Saturdays. But the show was that good. So good that after the first two episodes I could go to sleep without the lights! And I just finished the s…