I'm going to be on vacation for the next couple weeks, so there won't be any new posts until after August 10.
The sermon series this August is called, "The Game of Life." It is part of our annual 'Moving Pictures' series and this year we are using sports movies to explore the challenges and resources we have for winning at the Game of Life.
Finding just the right clip is not easy, but coming up with a list of favorite sports movies was fun. Being on this list does not mean these will be part of the series. It just means they are favorites of mine:
It wasn't easy to narrow it down to five, but there they are. How about you? What are your favorite sports movies?
Over the past several years i have enjoyed teaching my Bible studies on Thursday mornings and (sometimes) evenings. Usually it complements the particular book of the Bible we are investigating in worship.
Each time I lead a class I am impressed by the questions people have and their desire to go deeper. I consistently have wished that I could teach a class I taught years ago called, KERYGMA.
KERYGMA is an in-depth Bible study that gives people terrific foundation for the rest of their lives. It approaches the Bible as a whole and in the end, participants have a good understanding about the major themes of the Bible as well as where the various pieces all fit.
KERYGMA is a big commitment (It is two hours of class for 34 weeks and participants should expect about 2 hours of preparation between classes) and it seems the timing has never been right to attempt such a class. I have never offered it here at New Hope. Nonetheless, it is the best class I know for helping people understand the Bible. I keep hoping that 'someday' I'll get to teach this class again.
I'm wondering if this year might be the year.
KERYGMA is a class that works best with between 12 and 25 people. That would mean that in the next month we would need to register at least 10 people who would be willing to commit to this class. Some Bible background is helpful, but I have taught this with 'beginners' as well as fairly 'advanced' students and it works well. We would meet on Thursday mornings from 9:30-11:30 am beginning in September. We'll take a few weeks off for holidays and breaks and finish at the end of May. The cost of the student materials is $32. It won't be the easiest class you've ever taken, but it may be the most rewarding. If you're interested, you can contact me by email through this blog, or fill out a form when you are at church. When we get enough people to make a class, I'll let everyone know and get the materials.
So, what do you think? KERYGMA anyone?
It has been awhile since I have had so many people asking me about a book. The Shack is one of those books that has been generating lots of 'buzz'. Some people love it. Others hate it. For some, it helps deepen their understanding of God. Others think it is blasphemous.
Sounds like a perfect choice for our last Pastor's Book Club selection!
The story is an allegorical encounter between a man who has been crushed by tragedy and 'God'. It all takes place in a shack in northern Oregon and it is a story that will stay with you. Its very popular right now, so you should be able to pick up a copy in most bookstores. You can also pick it up next week at church for $9.
At least one small group is reading it as well as several individuals. Pick up your own copy, read it and let's get together on Sunday, August 24 @ 7:00 to discuss it.
It's time for 'Moving Pictures' again!
Moving Pictures is the name of our summer sermon series where each week we begin with the clip from a movie. Each summer we choose a theme and then find movies that match that theme with a short clip that raises a question or illustrates a particular point. In the past we have chosen themes like 'Heroes', "Families' or last year's: 'The Seven Deadly Sins' (lots to choose from on this one. The only trouble was finding clips we could show in worship!)
With the Olympics coming up, 'Sports' was an obvious choice year's series. Actually, the upcoming political conventions and general election raised the possibility of 'Politics', but there were three reasons we chose not to use that theme:
The title of the series is: 'The Game of Life' and it spans the month of August.
One of the harder things to do was narrow down the choices to just four or five selections. The qualifications for a sermon clip are pretty strict, but there were still so many to choose from.
The movies we chose for this summer's theme are....
We'll release those in a couple weeks. In the meantime, what are some of YOUR favorite sports movies? If you send me a list of your top five, we'll tabulate the results. You can use the comment button below or email me directly.
Let the Games begin!
Rachel Sayimani passed away over the weekend. Her husband Wilbert, had just returned form his trip to the United Sates as part of the delegation from the Presbytery of Zimbabwe. Some of you met him when he spoke at our Pastor's Book Club. Within hours of his return to Zimbabwe, Rachel suffered a massive stroke and, after more than a week of treatments, passed away.
Besides Wilbert, Rachel leaves two children: Primrose and Wilbert Jr. It was also during this time that Wilbert's sister also died. If you are wondering how one person could be afflicted with so much tragedy in such a short time, you are not alone.
For those who wish to do so, I have included Wilbert's email address for people to pass on their own condolences. Electricity and phone service are very sporadic and it may take some time to connect with him. Also, there are fears that emails are being monitored, so please keep your remarks away from anything political. Whether you send an email or not, please keep Wilbert, his family and his congregation in your prayers.
Wilbert's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sunday I asked for prayers for Wilbert Sayimani and his wife Rachel. Hours after he arrived home from his trip to Denver, Rachel had what appears to be a stroke. It took a long time to find a hospital that could adequately treat her. Here is the latest update we have. It is from Judy Chigwida (who was here last year) via Julia Henderson;
I received an email from Judy Chigwida today with an update on Rachael. She says "Of real concern is Rachel S.'s condition as she had a severe stroke last Thur after Wilbert's return home. Her condition was improving slowly and then today she had another episode of very high blood pressure and her level of conciousness is not as good as it was yesterday. A neuro surgeon has been called in by her internist specialist and we have not yet had a report of his findings. She shows signs of increased intracranial pressure. We will so appreciate your prayers for all concerned."
I hope you will continue to keep Wilbert, Rachel and their two children (Primrose and Wilbert Jr.) in your prayers. Thanks.
In the past, I have posted an article from Gentleman's Quarterly concerning the improbable and inspiring story of Paul Neshangwe (he was just here, too) and Jim Steele. The current issue of GQ (July 2008) has a brief update and you can get a look at it here: Download gq_july_2008_update.pdf
It should probably also be mentioned that the original article, The Other Side of Hate, won the National Magazine Award for 'Best Feature Article of 2007'.
There are a lot of things we like about our new web page. Since we launched it a couple months ago, we have received lots of great feedback about its improved look, its simplified format and how easy it is to move around and find things.
One thing we didn't like: we couldn't get our connection with iTunes to work for people to download sermons. People who are on the road a lot especially liked the fact that they could stay connected to the current sermon series wherever they were.
As of today, that problem is fixed. The iTunes connection is back (thank you, Bruce!).
There is a new link you may have to use and it is listed on our 'Sermons' page. Of course, sermons continue to be available as direct downloads or on CD.
I've been thinking about self-control this week. Its the subject of this week's sermon as part of our, The Good Life series. Self-control is not a popular subject- especially when thinking about The Good Life. For many of us, our fantasies about the Good Life mean we don't have to exercise any self-control ("I could spend all I want.", "I can do anything I want." "I can eat what I want to eat.", etc.)
At the same time, most of us admit we need more self-control. Check out your new year's resolutions for the last 5 years and see how many have to do with self-control ('I'm going to...eat less/exercise more/read more/watch less TV/learn a language/...you get the idea). When asked which of the Fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control) needs most 'ripening' in their lives, most people will say, 'Self-Control'. In fact, most people recognize that if they had more self-control, they would also have more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness.
So there we are. The very thing that is key to a life that is 'good' is also the thing we wish we could avoid. Hmmm.
While you are thinking about that, here is a quote from M. Scott Peck (in The Road Less Traveled) that speaks to the same point:
Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to live.
We are used to scheduling our appointments and even our work. Who thinks about scheduling our 'pain and pleasure'?
The response for our next Pastor's Book Club selection, Velvet Elvis has been terrific. In fact, we sold out of them on Sunday.
Not to worry, more copies have been ordered and should be here by Sunday- actually, Friday for those who just can't wait.
The format of Pastor's Book Club is simple:
The date for discussing Velvet Elvis is Sunday, July 20 @ 7:00 pm.