30 April 2007

Kids at Night

Deb and I just put Caitlyn down for the night and eventho we didn't talk about it prior to her going down, we both commented on how much we like watching her falling asleep.

It is quite interesting that her sleep resonates out from her core. As she falls asleep the first thing that stops moving is her legs, then her feet, and then her toes. On the upper half the first thing to stop moving is her arms, then her hands, and then her fingers. When all of those are quiet, she closes her eyes, sucks her fingers, and then her breathing gets deeper and deeper as she drifts off to dreamland.

Kids are awesome! Even when the go "jekyll and hyde" on you as you try to get them in and out of the bath and in to their PJs. I highly recommend having a few kids in your life, but be sure to wait until the time is right.

Tony posted this a while ago, but I just read it this afternoon. I must say that it felt like he was writing that just for me.


Undignified Worship

2 Samuel 6.22a says:
I will become even more undignified than this, I will be humiliated in my own eyes. (TNIV)

David was dancing for joy as he brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. David was so passionate about God's presence returning to his hometown, that he was willing to humiliate himself - and he didn't care! He was willing to praise God without a thought to self-consciousness. He love to praise, sing, and dance so much that he not only didn't care what he looked like, he didn't care who saw him or what they thought of his dancing. David was willing to be 'even more undignified' in order to praise God with all his heart.

How often to we as Christians reign in our enthusiasm for Jesus? How often are we afraid to speak, sing, or scream for Jesus? Why do we cower to the 'standard of decent behavior' in order to fit in or not stand out? When we have such a great message to proclaim, why do we keep our mouths shut and our praise 'dignified'?

I want to be like David. I want to be so unashamed of what God has done for me that I am willing to embarrass myself for the sake of the gospel!

Jesus, you lived a life that changed so many people. Help me to express the depth of change in my life with worship that honors you and humiliates me. Amen.

Thank you God, for bringing this passage before me in light of the conversation that Kris, Alan, and I had yesterday!


29 April 2007

Sunday Reflections

Update: After some very exciting proposals from Jim, this rant is no longer necessary. Isn't it cool how God makes things fall into place? More on that later.


The Notebook

I may have to reclaim my title of "token woman" (don't ask) after writing this, but I just have to say that Deb and I watched "The Notebook" for the first time last night and it was a good movie. I was drawn into the story and I wanted the main characters to work out in the end. I know, I know...it's a chick flick, but it was a good story and I am always up for a good story.

Ok, I think I will post about the NFL draft or something like that tomorrow...


27 April 2007

Perry's Passion

I just read this post from Perry Noble and I felt that I must share it with you. His passion for those who don't know Jesus is so obvious.

God, I pray that you continue to stoke the passion your Spirit has lit inside Perry. I pray that you continue to work thru him as he reaches out to the people of Anderson, SC. In Jesus' name. Amen.


25 April 2007

Lunches That Make You Go Wow

Today I had lunch with a member of our church and I was reminded of the amazing way that God brings people into our lives in order to make his plans work.

I went to the restaurant thinking that I was meeting a woman, but it turned out that Kerry is a dual-gender name (I should have known that, but it didn't click for some reason). So I had lunch with Kerry and found out that he used to be a pastor in the Baptist church, but through a series of events, left the pastorate, left the Baptist church, and joined our UM church (interesting story).

So we were talking about him becoming part of our Missions Committee and what he could bring to the table. About halfway through his story, it became clear to me that he had at least three undeniable things to offer our Team:

1) Love for the Church
2) Passion for those outside the Church
3) Leadership thinking (another 30,000-ft thinker!)

Our conversation went great and he is going to pray about joining our efforts. I walked away from the meeting reflecting on one thing: he had called his wife before meeting with me and told her that he was going to have lunch with me just to get to know me better, but he wasn't all that interested in being on the Team, but he told me that by the end of our lunch he was very excited about the possibility of serving on the Team to set direction and leadership for the Missions here at Trietsch. Praise God!


24 April 2007

Recon Work Today

I was invited to go down and visit with the worship staffs of Highland Park UMC today and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with them and touring the facility. Paul Rasmussen (a buddy of mine) leads their Cornerstone service and I can only say that he has done a phenomenal job of growing that community into a vibrant body of Christ followers.

I pray that I can have the opportunity to preach in a contemporary setting where, as the pastor for that worshipping community, I get free reign to make it whatever the community wants it to be.

Thanks HP for raising the bar on excellence in worship!


23 April 2007

Quick Commentary on some UM Polity

As part of the structure of the United Methodist system, every four years Methodists from across the globe elect delegates (both lay and clergy) to attend General Conference. The next GC will be in Ft. Worth, TX in May 2008. During the year prior to GC, candidates who wish to be elected to GC "campaign" for their election, speak to various groups on different issues, and do some general "shakin' hands and kissin' babies" in an attempt to garner support.

In that light, I read two articles this morning about proposals for changing the way delegates are elected to GC. One of them (scroll to page 4) was written by a pastor that I used to work for and the other was written by I guy I have never met. I ask you to read both of them before continuing on with my comments as my thoughts will probably only make sense in light of what the authors said.

Gary (my former boss) acknowledges the politicizing of the elections, but is "convinced that the political process is the best way for those of us who are sinful creatures to order our collective life." He offers six suggestions for 'new ways' of approaching the elections held each quadrennium. His suggestions (posed as questions) made me stop and think about what I will be participating in (as a voting member of the Annual Conference) this June. I especially appreciate ways #1, 2, and 6 because they lead each voter to ask critical questions that supercede personal agendas, seek to dialogue with those who hold opposing view points (for growth and deeper understanding, not conflict), and personal responsibility for each vote we cast. He closes with this thought:
If, when all is said and done, we actually are willing to do things in a new way, I think we will be delighted at the outstanding leaders of different ages, theological perspectives, genders and places of ministry who emerge. Even more importantly, we will be amazed at the difference it makes in the United Methodist Church as we live out our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Eric (never met him) believes that the whole electoral system is in desperate need of repair. He says, "The present system of electing delegates to our General Conferences has degenerated to the point that little distinguishes it from the political processes in secular society." He further believes that some candidates are saying whatever they need to say to curry favor with whatever audience with which they are speaking. His proposal for reform includes asking each voter to consider two questions: 1)"What is my stake in this election?" and 2)"What would God call our denomination to do, and what leadership skills will it take to achieve it?" He further proposes that any candidate for GC have a proven track record of leadership ability in their local church. He closes his article by saying, "By achieving unity in doing, maybe we can find a renewed unity and purpose in being the Body of Christ."

Here are some of my thoughts...
I tend to agree that the political nature of our electoral system can lead to manipulation and lower-functioning as a whole denomination. From what I have heard about the electoral process, it is more about who has the most friends (or who is most charismatic or appealing) that gets elected, rather than the person who is going to speak for the whole church on important issues in our denomination.

I am going to do whatever it takes to inform myself about each candidate for GC because I feel that that is the only way that I can vote responsibly and in a God-honoring way. I know that it will be hard, but I am willing to have difficult conversations with people who differ from me theological, socially, racially, and ethnically in order to understand them better. I really feel that I must honor my calling to ministry by conducting myself in that manner.

I hope that others will follow suit, but if not, at least I will have done my best. I look forward to blogging about the whole process in June...perhaps even while it is going on (if the laptop is up and running).

What are your thoughts?


17 April 2007

Much Needed Updates - Holy Week

Sorry for the long absence from the blogosphere...the week after Easter was a little crazier than I had anticipated...and this week is shaping up to be much of the same.

Ok...Holy Week:
Maundy Thursday was very cool once again this year. We did the whole experiential worship with 4 different stations. We had communion in tables of 12 (one of which I led). We had journaling stations (one with pen and paper and one with blogging (complete with new Trietsch blog - be sure to read the comments/prayer requests in the comment section of the Maundy Thursday post). We had candles for prayer requests and answered prayers. And we had a foot-washing station. Overall, this was a very cool way to remember Christ's last meal with his disciples.

Good Friday service brought us back to the reality of Christ's death. The Schubert Mass was both poignant and uplifting. And eventho it was all in Latin, the words went deep into my soul. As the altar was stripped of paraments and decorations, the finality of death really hit home. The complete darkness at the conclusion of the passion narrative brought chills and hammering a nail into the cross made me shudder because I realized once again what my sins did to my Lord. Powerful stuff!

Easter morning was fantastic! I was liturgist during the contemporary services and the attitudes were great and the air was electric! That's the best way that I can describe it. God was working in that place like we have never seen before. All the preparation we did...all the worrying we did over the weather...all the fretting about how many chairs were set up...all that went away when the sun came out and we knew that the Son had risen indeed. It was awesome! Praise God!