Interactive Sermon

"Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured" ~Old Russian Proverb

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Dear Friends: As you know we have been experiencing difficulties the last week with the blog and our blogging construct Blogger. Part of the issues stem from the size of this blog and Blogger's difficulty handling my site the way it is presently configured. I'm setting aside this coming week to make some thoroughgoing changes. We've begun work on a new launch for Interactive Sermon - one that, Lord willing, will be built from the start to handle present size and allow for all the future growth and expansion. So, (1) please pray for me and my learning curve where all the changes are concerned. (2) Please bear with me here for a few days while we get things up and running in the new format. (3) Please help me get the word out this week that Interactive Sermon is going 'big time'! Thanks for your prayers, concerns and patience. And, thanks for continuing the conversation with me. Stay tuned.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Blogger Issues

Greetings friends! Just a quick note to let you know that the lack of new posts the last couple of days hasn't been intentional. Blogger Issues abound. We're working on it. Stay tuned. There are some pictures from Tuesday night's 3 Chords outing and a couple of scratch-your-head pieces on the launch-pad, but something is afoot corrupting postings at the moment. (As I hit 'publish' here in a moment, I'll hold my breath to see if this posts.) Thanks for your patience.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What A Great Collection Of Liars!

My wife lied to me. She said "I just think you ought to go and spend some time with your nephew Jimmy tonight. I'm just going to stay home."

My nephew lied to me. He said, "So, have you heard from your old friend Mark? I wonder where that guy is these days? What's it been, 10 years since we've seen him?"

My daughter lied to me. She said, "Dad, my dance class will let out at 9 tonight. I'll call you if the plan changes."

My wife lied to me some more. "I drove Katie to youth group at the church and left the lights on in the van. I have a dead battery - will you come and jump the van?"

The Bible says: Thou shalt not lie. You're all sinners.

Good news! Jesus paid the price for your deceit... and I benefited by it. I'm thankful to each and every one of you! I love you all!

Thanks to a wonderful church family for being in on the surprise, for all the help you offered Shari in pulling a fast one on me, for the wonderful cards and gifts - and for wading through rivers to share a very special evening with me.

Thanks to a wonderful Mom, Sister, and Nephew for hopping a flight to New Hampshire during the middle of our Nor'easter to surprise me.

Thanks to my old friend Mark for traveling to 'Seattle', and for being to my right on stage the other night... just like old times.

Thanks to my 3 Chords mates for surrounding me with real talent. Who was that bass player with the mullet? Does he own a van? Sign him up!

Thanks to the girls who spoke of 'big buts' and then donned big butts to bring me a smile (and for making everyone reading this blog who missed that scene wonder what in the world I am talking about!!!)

Thanks to my girls for the wonderful artwork and hard work in making this day for me. I love you all - and I am very proud of each of you.

Thanks to the love of my life Shari! You got me... my turn. I love you.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's On My Mind?

Uh Oh! ~ Seems the 'Jesus Tomb' story is losing credibility about as fast as Titanic took on water. Give this article a glance.

Imus-sed Up ~ Let me get a handful of Imus thoughts off my chest. First, I think the comments Don Imus made were incomprehensible and I think he should expect to be suspended, or perhaps fired, possibly fined or sued, and at the very least lose a number of his sponsors and listeners. Second, while I do see a double standard - the fact that black rap artists like 50 Cent use the very same words that Don Imus used, and that is considered freedom of speech and artistic liberty - I think Imus' comments are different, because he applied them to a specific group of girls, whereas rap artists, for the most part, speak in general terms of "the ho' on the dance flo'" and so on. Third, I am continually surprised by the voices that come out on these kinds of stories. I think they should look in the mirror. Two of the loudest voices in the wake of Imus' comments are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. When will Jesse Jackson apologize for referring to New York as 'Heimytown' or Al Sharpton apologize for his characterization of the Duke Lacrosse players as racists? Lastly, I wonder what value a genuine apology has anymore. I'm not an Imus fan. But, I have read and seen his apologies, and I think he appears genuine in his remorse. If he is, will it matter to society? I'd love to see the Rev's Al and Jesse give society a lesson in applying mercy and grace.

More snow coming... Chicago worst since 1957... North Dakota since 1945... Global warming... Global whining... Has anyone seen my copy of Al Gore's book?

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Good Old Days Of Radio

Greetings from halfway to Florida, and a little retreat.

As I logged in 700 miles today, I decided to spend the day listening to old time radio programs on an XM station appropriately called 'Old Time Radio'. I listened to several episodes of Gunsmoke - starring the voice of William Conrad, as Marshal Matt Dillion (the role played by James Arness on television). I also listened to episodes of the Green Hornet, Ozzie and Harriet, and my favorite of the day was the Burns & Allen show, as in George Burns and Gracie Allen.

Here's what I came away with - it took real talent to make radio programs three dimensional for the listener. There were times when scenes changed, and the music or the voice inflection of the characters was all that was there to transport the listener to the new scene. Very cool for me to think about as a writer-wannabe.

The programs I listened to all had a date associated with them - they were from the 1940's through 1950's. During a Gunsmoke episode 'Doc' was tending a man who was dying of his injuries, and Miss Kitty began to quote Psalm 23. Scandalous!!! The bar girl knew her Bible. And you know I was loving every second of that.

I said that I liked the Burns & Allen shows the best. They had a guy named Bill who was a 'traveling salesman' type character, who would show up during the script at appropriate times and the products he was selling were the actual commercials that supported the show. Sometimes George Burns would interact with 'Bill', and the commercial parts were among the funniest spots in the show. Many of the products and advertisements are also long gone. One commercial urged that you could send a dime and a Swan Soap label to: Gracie Allen, Box 7, New York, and you would receive a box of orchid bulbs. Note the address. That is verbatim. Wow! (I found this old Swan Soap label, if you want to try to mail off for the bulbs.)

All this to say, we miss a lot these days, I think, of writing and creativity. Another 600 miles to go tomorrow. I think I'll dial in a few more radio shows.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Upon Further Review

Snowed out. Moments after we finished the rewrite of our ageless classic... they tell us that the Open Mic tonight is snowed under. Stay tuned for the next chance to watch me make a fool of myself - sure to be coming soon.

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3 Chords... Give Or Take

3 Chords & A Cloud of Dust it will not be, but I'll be there to do my best. Jimmy and Jesse have abandoned me for a weekend retreat. It's me and my guitar. To pretty things up, and to add exponentially to the talent level of my performance, my wife Shari will be joining me in sharing a couple of my original songs and one updated-for-a-new-millennium, classic standard from the 1960's.

Snow? What snow? Oh, the snow that is falling now. Yes, I am imagining that we are still on tonight no matter the weather - this is New Hampshire, we can handle snow! But, it still might be a good idea for you to give JBeaners a call (672-3332) before you head out tonight if you have any concerns that the event is cancelled. I'll certainly post it here if I hear anything.

I hope to see you tonight at 8:45. Come early for Mike's and Dave's set.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Man Hiding Behind The Lenses

Wow. So my first hours in the world of wearing glasses have been an adventure. The eye doctor advises me that I can choose whether to wear my glasses all the time or only when I am reading. They are bifocals intended to help both my reading and distance sight. The intermediate range is where all the fun seems to be.

Walking up and down stairs makes me feel like I'm on a roller coaster.

Things are blurry or very sharp depending on the angle of my head (between reading and looking across the room and further).

I reached for a bottle of Coke on my desk and missed the top of it.

Now, I don't mind falling down stairs or being nauseous. But, if I can't grab a bottle of Coke...

My daughters assured me that the frames really set off my gray hair and make me look wiser. Tremendous!

So, encourage me if you see me stumble past. Help the poor old man get a grip on his Coke!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Friday Night Fun

Interactive Sermon Exclusive!

Friday night March 16th, Mike Knight, Darin Shaw and Dave Sumner (pictured above during their 2005 tour of Namibia) will be playing the Open Mic event at JBeaners Coffee Shop on 101-A. The schedule for the evening begins at 6pm, with Mike slotted in at 8:15, Dave at 8:30 and Darin at 8:45. Make plans now to join a group of folks Friday evening to hear some original music and have some fun together.

About the evening, the three musicians had this to say:

Mike - "Dave Sumner is pretty big in these parts."

Darin - "Everybody needs to come. Mike said he will be playing 'Mexican Senorita'!"

Dave - "What is a JBeaner?"

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Friday, March 09, 2007

On The Road Again! Almost...

As I type this I am a mere five minutes away from leaving to go pick up my car! What an ordeal. Wish me well, that there won't be any last minute surprises - the way this thing has gone, I'm half expecting to get there and find out they've misplaced my car. "I don't understand. It was here just a minute ago! We'll look for it and give you a call next week."

A man and his Mustang... 'tis a real love affair!


Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Pirate Looks At 40 (but it's blurry)

It started with a few nights of watching the words blur during my late-night reading. 'Just over-tired', I figured. Then it progressed to watching the words blur almost all the time, but magically clear as I moved the book six inches further from my face. 'It's nothing', I assured myself. "What did you expect? You're turning 40 this year!" the eye doctor scoffed. 'Smart-&%$', I thought to myself! The verdict is: I need glasses.

John Lennon, for instance. Would I look cool with the perfectly round lenses? They apparently helped John to see while he wrote some of the most lasting classics in rock-n-roll. But, they didn't help him with the ladies. (Yep, that's a Yoko dig!) And, I don't guess they helped his peripheral vision on that fateful December night in 1980.

What about the Rick Nielsen look? Cool with the checkerboard pattern thing going on. Matching glasses with the rest of my wardrobe might be the way to go. You can't see it so well in this small version of the picture, but even his in-ear monitor is dressed in checkerboard. Way cool. 'Mama's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird..."

How about a Buddy Holly look? He made the 'wood-shop safety glasses' look cool. Hmmm. Sharp objects? Better not.

Some Bono's? His specs help him see the needy of the world with great compassion. They also help him see that talk is cheap, and action costs dearly. There's something to be said for those lenses!

'Sir-Eltons'! These frames are fit for a Knight. Elton said that he wore crazy glasses as a young performer to mask his stage fright. Then he hit 40. Now he wears them to mask his aging eyesight. I wonder if it's the glasses that have magnified that huge cross on his chest? Elton: Got Jesus?

Then there's Elvis. Elvis Costello, that is. Elvis makes the frames look cool, doesn't he? Veronica liked them.

Now, these are some glasses! They are BB's. B.B. King's lenses allow him to sing the blues, but always to have an infectious smile and a laughter about him. I think more people ought to get some of these glasses. I want to see the world this way.

Michael once sang, "I'm looking at the man in the mirror". Apparently his glasses are of the wrong prescription.

Bob Dylan went with the most affordable frames.

Maybe I could go 'Super Freak' like the late Rick James. Problems with these lenses though included his mistaking his wife for a punching bag, his dog for a soccer ball, and amphetamines for vitamins.

A good pair of David Crowder glasses could work. His lenses allow him to see God and then paint beautiful pictures in song to help the rest of us see God. Then again, David Crowder could make any pair of glasses look good, eh?

A good pair of glassed like Pete Townshend wears might be cool. I found out last week that he is a serious blogger. Check his blog here. Hmmm. Perhaps if I went with lenses like Pete my blog would get more daily hits? The glasses also also give him a 'kinder-gentler-Pete' kind of look. Does this look like a man who became famous smashing guitars at the end of shows?

Alas! I've decided to go with a pair of glasses similar to the Ken Block (of Sister Hazel) model. Ken sees the world like a poet and puts it to song for the rest of us. His lenses let him see the world in shades of 'sunrise to indigo' and back again.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's On My Mind?

I'd appreciate your prayers as I will be delivering a lecture at Community Bible Study tomorrow morning on Ephesians 2:1-10. It has been my privilege this year to enjoy the tremendous teaching ministry of Gina Erickson at CBS, and I've really enjoyed just being one of the folks in the study - not having to wear a pastor's hat. The disguise comes off for a few minutes tomorrow, as I've agreed to fill in. But, then, it will be back into the crowd and my small group for me!

As I've been reading and re-reading the text these last couple of hours, here are a couple of things that really lift my heart. Grab your Bible and glance through 2:1-10 and try these observations on for size:

v. 2 We 'followed' the ways of the world. Jesus calls His disciples to 'come follow Him'.
v. 4 A very big 'but'... here I smile. Gina is such a gentle and articulate Bible teacher, and I'm going to ride in there tomorrow commending big buts to the people! But it is a very big but. Sin doesn't have the last word. God does.
v. 5-6 Note the words 'with Christ' repeated often in these couple of verses. Grace is communicated to us insofar as we are 'with Christ'.
v. 8 'It is the gift of God' - one of the questions regarding salvation in our group study for the text asks 'What is our part?' Here's my answer: WE HAVE NONE! I plan to deliver that answer with the exclamation mark, verbally. Think this will raise a few eyebrows?
v. 10 You and me, God's artistry! Makes me think of Psalm 139 and how we are 'fearfully and wonderfully made'.

Shari and I are also leading the CBSers in a few songs, among them Chris Tomlin's new version of Amazing Grace and We Bow Down. Ought to be a glorious morning. Thanks for your prayers!

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What's On My Mind?

DaVinci Deja vu ~ James Cameron, the man who brought us to Titanic on the bottom of the ocean, claims to be ready to give us a look at the coffins of Jesus and his family, including what Cameron says are his wife Mary Magdalene and their son Judah. Wow! Sounds like a great movie, James. Jesus sells!

Pastoral Attrition ~ I'm working on my Pastor's Annual Report for 2006. I've composed one every year that I've been at Christ's Church in February - marking the anniversary of my arrival. This year I thought I might like to change the look of my report, so I did a google search for pastor's annual reports to see what other pastor's reports looked like. A number of the reports I found on the internet were more than a year old, some as many as four or five years old. Where I could, I moved from the old report to the church's current website to see what progress I could discover. What I found was an alarming number (more than half in my informal survey) of the pastors are no longer at the same church. Discouraging to me.

Vacation Week ~ Our girls are off from school and dance schedules this week. I'm really hoping to have some meaningful family time. Have you ever noticed how the week looks long and filled with opportunity one day... and then it's in the rear-view mirror the next and you're asking 'What happened to all that time we had?' I don't want to be there.

The Book Cellar ~ Al and Kit Deu's bookstore over on 101-A. You may recall that I won a $50 gift-certificate for their store at the Super Bowl Party. I've been visiting the store searching out the best ways to use the gift. Last night I came home with a stack of great books! There are some great deals there - tables full of bargains. If you're a book-a-holic like me, this place is worth many a pilgrimage.

What's on your mind this week?

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What's On My Mind?

Enter with caution - my mind is a scary place!

Martin Luther ~ I was a guest speaker at MAFA yesterday in the history class. I was tasked with sharing about Martin Luther. In researching, a few things particularly caught my attention: (1) His initial intent was something small, but things exploded into something he hadn't planned or imagined. (2) When things really went sour, only a couple friends remained by Luther's side. (3) Although it was Pope Leo and Church Councils that sought to undo him, Luther saw his struggle was against evil - 'but still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe'. (4) He didn't see it all as chance, but rather Luther understood it all to be the hand of God - 'for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us'. (5) The end result was, and continues to be, far greater than Martin Luther had ever imagined. And, for those with ears to hear... thanks.

Britney Spears ~ (How's that for a segue - Luther to Britney?) I was planning to blog some jokes about Britney hearing that 3 Chords decided not to close their gig the other night with one of her songs, but went instead with the Backstreet Boys, and that she became so distraught she shaved her head and went into hiding. Then I thought a bit more about the news stories the last couple of months where Britney is concerned. It's not something I want to poke fun at. This young lady is in a spiral, and I'm very worried that we will be reading Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain or Anna Nicole Smith headlines about her in the future. Kyrie eleison?

Frozen Digits ~ I get to spend this morning doing a brake-job on my van. That metal to metal sound every time I stop tells me it's time! I promise you there is nothing like holding steel wrenches in your hands when it is 20 degrees outside.

Hebrews 8 ~ Oh yeah! At least I have some good stuff to think about while I'm freezing my digits off. My Hebrews crew - see ya soon.

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