Showing posts from July, 2017

Ticket to Ride from the Rockies

Greetings from Colorado! Our crew took off after worship last Sunday. We're spending five days in a cabin at the YMCA of the Rockies, then we'll stop in Kansas for a couple of days, catching up with friends who moved there from Texas. Usually our family vacations are urban in nature : Chicago,  New York, San Diego. So this has been a change, and a good one. The camp offers a ton of activities, guided and independent. The weather has been spectacular. Cool in the evenings and mornings, warm during the day. And it's rained every day so far. 
Yesterday we spent an hour or so in a neighboring village doing touristy stuff during the rain.  Following a picnic on the shore of Grand Lake, we drove through the Rocky Mountain National Park, which was beautiful and thrilling and exhausting. Today a dear friend I once served with at Custer Road UMC is driving up from Denver with her three kids to spend the day. 
A couple of fun back to school events to keep in mind: August 12& 13…

Reunited-- And It Feels So...


Genesis 32:22-31

Impulsive. Acting before thinking. He had run away from home, burning every bridge in the process. Now, some time later, he was desperate and had nowhere else to go. So he started the journey home. Along the way, he practiced a speech he would offer to any family member he encountered: "I have sinned against God and you. I have nowhere else to go. Let me be your servant, that I may live another day." The story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15 sounds eerily similar to the encounter between Jacob and Esau after being separated for twenty years. Jacob is literally the younger brother; Esau is the father figure. Jacob is scared and unsure about the future; Esau celebrates the return of one he thought was dead and lost.

The night before the family reunion, Jacob struggled. He heard from his servants that Esau was coming at him with 400 men. He orders his servants to deliver hundreds of sheep and cattle to Esau as a gift-- more like a bribe-- to earn Esau…

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Do Not Remain Silent! Sexual Violence in Genesis

During the Genesis series I have approached each sermon from a narrative preaching/storytelling perspective. I will continue that today, with some expository comments and statistics at the end. Activities for little kids outside of the Celebration Center were offered for parents concerned about the sermon content (emails and announcements were shared in recent weeks).

Genesis 34:1-7 and 38:1-11

Jacob ran away from home to avoid the wrath of his brother Esau. He settled in the land of his Uncle Laban and fell in love with a woman. Twenty years later, he had two wives and two concubines, who together produced twelve sons, who will become the originators of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Often forgotten, Jacob had a daughter as well: Dinah.

Dinah’s story, such as it is, is contained in Genesis 34. She goes out to visit some women while her brothers are working and her father is home (remember, he was always a homebody). Alone, she is attacked by Shechem, the son of Hamor, the ruler of the t…

Bridgeport 2017

Greetings from Bridgeport Camp! I'm not sure how many of these I have attended, but honestly they get better every year. The activities mostly do not change year to year; what is different are the relationships. I have several clergy colleagues here, plus I've served here with many of the same counselors over the years.

Here are some highlights so far: evening worship under the stars is amazing. We start after 9:00, so the sun is gone and there is a cool breeze. We have Bible study twice a day- we've learned about creation, and the lives of Moses and Esther. The kids choose fun activities every day, and their biggest moments are at the pool and the gift shop. The other day Linus skipped the more expensive Big Kahuna ice cream sandwich and instead bought two smaller ice cream sandwiches- one for him, one for me. How amazing is that??

And did I mention it's hot??

The kids are out by 11:00, so everyone gets a solid eight hours of sleep. And our cabin has placed 2nd two c…

Serve Grace

Next week I'll be at Camp Bridgeport with Linus (elementary kids). It's always a fun week of silliness. Each kid is assigned to a Family Group, about 20 students from various churches, for Bible study and relevant activities and games. They also sign up for Interest Groups, which is more traditional camp-type stuff (swimming, archery, hiking, etc.). And adults sign up to help with these activities.

I received an email the other day from one of the Camp Directors asking me to sign up for which Interest Group I'd like to lead. The past couple of years I have worked on the camp newspaper, but it's always iffy if enough kids will sign up for that. I volunteered for Board Games, or "anything that meets inside." So I'll be worn out on Uno by next Friday!

We have lots of opportunities here at Grace to sign up for as well. Our Lay Leadership Team, one time called Nominations, recently revamped our Serve Grace form to help facilitate more folk in ministry. What w…