Hawaii 2010

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hoping You Will Hear From Me Tomorrow

"And the Parrots shall sit upon the dumb tourists head, as he hopes they are potty trained"

This blog is registered under a no longer existing email address. Attempts to give this blog a link to my present email address have not worked. If I have no post tomorrow, I may be locked out until I figure out how to get this chore done.

I am struggling with the Easter messages as always. Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection every day of the week, every week of the year, so it is difficult for me to get up in any special way. My family of origin was never much on birthdays and special occasions, so I lean toward those whom Paul said, treated every day as the same, not those who have special days.

I think I am living eternal life right now. Like Eugene Peterson, I am practicing resurrection every day. Unlike my parents generation, I have rethought the resurrection and believe it involves a physical continued existence, not a disembodied state. I believe the new heavens and the new earth do not involved the nuking and destroying of the present universe, which is vast and unexplored.

I have no idea how all this is going to look, feel and be. But I am filled with hope.
The blog problem, filled with apprehension. Hope to see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Things I am Selling

Well, I did not start blogging to make money. However, I have reached the stage in my life where I am willing to sell some things I have for things I want. If any of you or your friends or relatives are searching for some things I am selling let me know.I am wanting to take my lens to our summer trip to Maui and Kauai.

A 12 String Yamaha Wide Body Acoustic Guitar, made in 1996, very nice room filling sound. Near perfect condition with nice case. I am keeping my six string Ovation, but never got really good on the 12. Price negotiable. Paid $350 for it seven years ago.

Canon EOS 18-55 EF 3.5 Lens, 75-300 EF Zoom, Canon EOS 3/5 18-200 Quantaray Zoom.
I am saving and selling to buy one L lens, I have discovered by photography love lies in landscapes and sharpness. All these are one year + old or less and will sell for 70 percent of their present value, unless you beg. Pictures available of all items.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pray for Team Niger and Mercy Aiken

I met Mercy A. three years ago at a conference. She moved from Arizon to North Carolina to be part of a particular church whose Pastor she appreciated. The church sent a group of young adults to Niger, Africa for 10 days of ministry. They have musicians, singers, dancers, story tellers, preachers and a packed schedule of ministry. Mercy is one of the most radiant believers I have ever met and I know this will be a wonderful and fruitful week for these disciples.

We are working on our audio visual room this week, finally lifting the projector to the ceiling and putting the sound bar on the wall. It always amazes me how these simple little projects get very complicated quickly as you think through all the issues of connectivity over a distance. As usual I am big on advice and short on building talent.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Reign of Grace

A King who remembers your name, and desires that you known Him for His grace and love, both now and in the ages to come.

Fine music today, Bell Choir and Combined Choir, more fun with Grandkids.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring time joys are numerous

The kids are enjoying our heated pools in Oakwood. Earlier in the week our men's Bible study cooked a terrific breakfast for our women. Lovely speaker, and a great time for all.

Our hearts turn again to Easter Week. May we reign with Him in bringing Kingdom life to our world.

Friday, March 26, 2010

3D and Dreamworks Animation is a winner

Shannon experiences another rite of passage to adulthood. Her first set of braces. She is taking it well and looking forward to that upper tooth getting in line with the others.

Here is how our date night ended up at IMAX How to Train a Dragon. I exchanged two passes I had from a problem when my son and I saw Avatar. I thought we would see Alice in Wonderland, but tonight was the first showing of the new Dreamworks film.

I can only say that this was so much more enjoyable in 3D than Avatar for me. I still got burny eyes, but the depth and the vividness of the cartoon characters was truly remarkable. Laura said, I think 3D is here to stay. I wonder if 15 dollars tickets are here to stay for IMAX as well? The six story screen Harkins bought is truly enormous, and it was packed out full.

Very cute movie, although pretty intense battle scenes for little kids I would think.
The classic triumph of brains over brawn, a father son being united, a love story, and some really great scenery of flying, woods, mountains, and oceans, and a cast of characters that is memorable, including the dragons.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The telios of Don

The View from the Balcony
An awesome family built Chalet type home on top of a hill 15 miles out in the San Tan Mountain Range.

We have been studying the concept of telos, a greek word in scripture that means end, purpose, and consumation. Today I drove to my old ministry location and visited Dwight and Gloria. They were leaders in our church whom I spent a lot of time with, and who have stayed in the Church since I left seven years ago. Dwight bought five acres out in the middle of the mountains and built the house you see on the weekends when they were in their fifties. They were wonderful leaders, prayers, planners, and teachers when we began to get momentum. Now the church is so full of young people, they have very little demand for their gifts.

The Church now has a thousand people, a Christian School, debt free, and Queen Creek has exploded in growth as we knew it would. After we struggled to get attendance from 50 to 200plus, opened the new worship center, and then struggled to grow, I used to say, Lord, what's happening, we built it and they are not coming.

As we shared about those seven years of living and serving, I began to see that God was really using me to prepare the church and the property for this growth curve. My telios, my purpose, was to get the church through the first building program. It took seven years to the very day from my start and my finish on Thankgiving Day 1995 to Thanksgiving Day 2002.

Next week marks seven years at Sun Lakes, and my job did not involve building anything, but changing their vision to include more of a Kingdom vision, and to enjoy their retirement while they continue to serve and grow.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Planning a Sabbatical

A delightful flower macro at Summer Winds Nursery today.

This Easter completes seven years as Pastor of Sun Lakes Community Church. I have been given some extra time off this summer and must present the general schedule to my board next month, hence some advanced planning.

A wonderful two week trip to Maui and Kaui in June is booked. We are thrilled to enjoy the natural beauty and side trips available on those islands. We are thinking we may not return there, and look for some beaches that are closer. We will be trying, and I emphasize trying to sell our time share and end 10 years of semi total frustration with RCI. Anyone want it. It works better if you are retired, I understand, but our limited travel time has made it a hassle.

Two weeks visiting Dixie, the place I am NO LONGER WHISTLING FROM. FOR SOME RELATIVES, FRIENDS, AND CONCENTRATED GOLF. Fly to New Orleans, spend time in Mississippi and North Florida.

Two weeks spiritual retreat and conference somewhere. Maybe with cheap accomadations in a college dorm or something.

With that plan several months away, I must continue to live each day as a gift from God.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Stroke stories, rehab realities

Do not sit on this plant, or get too near it!!! Take a picture of it for your friends who do not see these every day.

I sat in a care home where one of my members is undergoing physical therapy. she is concerned that although they allow her 21 days of rehab, some sickness and flu have kept her in bed, and the clock is ticking. A day is a day and she will have to leave before she is walking and using her hands well enough for self care. Her physical inactivity during her life and her weight are unfortunately an issue.

Her roommate was slender, active and healthy until her stroke hit, and although she walks well her hands are too weak to eat without assistance. Again, many and varied issues with each person and systems that respond to charts and limits. Even my sweet ladies long term care insurance will not kick in until 90 days, which limited her costs, but creates a 2 month gap in rehab care.

Add the desire to survive a stroke as reasons I am practicing my own health care with eating right and moving every day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A New Lens on my Camera, two health care stories

This is the Val Vista Lakes Homeowners Clubhouse and pool and some nice planted beds.

A friend lent me his Canon USM 28-135, a step beyong my kit lens, and I am drooling for more crisp and sharp photos. Here are a few from my visit over to the Dentist.
At the gym where I practice health care, ie. caring for my health I see a young man who struggles with his right side, and so I ask.....seems He suffered from migrains as a teen, smoked through out his teens and early twenties, and had a doozy of a stroke just short of 30. He works every day to regain what he lost. I expressed my admiration for his work ethic and courage. He is disabled and needs long term health care, and he is trying.

Last night at the Pizza Place, still practicing a looser form of health care by eating only two slices, I notice a man the table over who was obese, his waist line had to be in the 50s. He was on oxygen and I could see him sipping air to breath, and then he tossed down a salad and a large pizza by himself. And I could not help but feeling a bit resentful at his lack of healthcare and the burden he is and will be on the system now that we all share the costs. I may be way judgmental on this but somehow he represented to me a huge bunch of folks who are not trying.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So Here We Go!!!?????

An omnibus healthcare bill, or an "under the bus" boondoggle? Time and analysis will tell. I do not have a good feeling about this.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Men to be most pitied

Paul stated that if their is no resurrection from the dead than living a Christian life as if there is one is pretty pitiful. I agree. Budwieser said it best years ago in one of their most popular sayings. "You only go around once in life, so grab for all the gusto you can get." I have never forgotten that commercial and have joked about it ever since. What on earth is gusto? How much does it cost? How to you grab it, front or back? I think gusto means beer drinking for Budwieser, but if this life is all there is I would probably find some other types of gusto to enjoy. In other words, I am morally careful and have some boundaries because I want to see God who is holy. I do not want the fruit of my life to be rotten in His sight....and.....I want to live unto the ages with God in a new creation.

So, believing in the resurrection makes my life not pitiful, but joyful, meaningful, boundaried by the desire to know God and please Him. I would love to make these next weeks full of the understanding of God, the highth and width and limitlessness of His love....and the bucketloads of gusto we will have in our resurrection life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Up at Dawn

I drove across town for a Lion's golf tournament and enjoyed a rare beautiful sunrise. Now, in truth, our bedroom faces east, and we have a large sliding door with Plantation Shutters and we see the sun rise every morning and it usually wakes me.

Today was slightly overcast in the morning but finally became a perfect spring morning. The golf was very enjoyable, and our team came in second, which paid for the morning.

The lovely lady in our foursome is a newly wed, who lost her husband three years ago to a sudden blod clot in the lung. Here one moment, gone the next. They were career missionaries to the Philipines and Indonesia. I was sad for her loss and happy that she found a Christian companion for the next part of her life.

I really try to live each day as though I could be here one minute and gone the next. Not restlessly, nor phrenetically, but gratefully, for perfect days off like today. Well, not perfect, because the pollen and grass are really getting to me more each season. Enjoy my sunrise picture, I did.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

There's a Wideness in God's Mercy

I am convinced that we have overestimated our role in our "salvation" and "belief" and underestimated God's mercy in reconciling the world to Himself. I am convinced we spend too much time seeing ourselves as special and not sinners, and not enough time expressing the unity we have of our need of accepting His righteousness on our behalf, which allows us to enjoy His moment by moment presence, and those not walking with Him to be the objects of his relentless prodigal love.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wearing the Green

It has been over three years since my interest in irish whistles led to a passion for celtic music and all things Irish. I have been listening to great music all week from The Chieftans, Clannad, Lunasa, Cherish the Ladies, and many more.

We enjoyed a viewing of John Waynes and Maureen Ohara in The Quiet Man, a charming tale of tradition and rivalry.

Happy St.Patrick's Dayu to you all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Avatar was a fun experience

Saw Avatar, non 3D with Laura, her first, my second viewing. This in light of the recent public Christian criticism that the movie glorified pantheism and was demonic.

I disagree. It was fantasy. The Navi people are feline in beauty, with cat like eyes and noses, and incredibly powerful and graceful. They have a magical land that is being harvested by the mercenaries on our apparently worn out planet.

Yes, it was a bit preachy, but in the context of the contrast of these people who are tied into their animals, their planet, and their diety, it all made for a good story.

It was not redemptive like Narnia, but in Narnia they had talking animals and trees. Let the movie be what it was, an exercise in creative fiction, an artistic triumph, and the story of a good hearted marine who defended the natives, just like Dances With Wolves. In that movie I was manipulated to feel very compassionate for the beauty of Indian culture and the nobility of the race. I was easily led to despise the U.S. Calvary for their violence. Whether that is the actual truth of history is apart from a creative and interesting saga.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eat right, and Get Moving

Can you see the Chipmunk on the Rock? Double Click for a bigger view.

The above advice sounds easy. The daily fidelity is not so easy. My gym was closed for four days for a special event so I missed a workout. We went out to dinner by invitations of Thursday at Charlestons, Friday at Shagrila, Saturday McDonalds(by begging grandkids), and Sunday Floridino's Pizza. Much fun and fellowship, and the scale went up.

So, you recommit, Eat right, and Get Moving. Today I made a delicious chicken salad with yellow raisins, curry powder, carrots, celery, and onions. We had fruit on the side, and both Laura and I spent a great hour in the Gym since she is on spring break. Boy do I expect her to be sore tomorrow.

In my old age I am taking more of the cooking duties, and I really enjoy it, am still a manly man, and I am getting better...I think....and hate cleaning up after my mess. Let me put in a plug for a lovely blog that has huge numbers of readers.

search for.....morningramble.blogspot.com

Patty writes beautifully of the joys of simple farm living, and has put herself on a health eating and exercise program, check it out.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Romanian Evangelism

Peter and Iliana Pincu returned to their homeland to build rural churches. They built ten. Peter died during preparation for surgery by a hospital error in medications in his early fifties. His wife carried on his ministry but Illiana passed away at 61 from a sudden heart attack. Their son Daniel and his wife are now returning to work with those churches and continue working with Romanian Young People and Widows. Ramona is a practicing Dentist whose work will advance the ministry and provide support for them in Romania.

Daniel plays the flute skillfully and with spiritual passion. It will be a real tool to touch hearts. He is a latecomer to the instrument and has really worked to develop the art. We are so blessed to be a part of this second generation ministry.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Actual Photographic proof that it exits!!!!!!

There it is. The light at the end of the tunnel. I tell everyone it exists, and sometimes they don't believe me.....so....here it is. Blessings to all!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photography and Golf are a fine mix

I finally got a functioning camera on the beautiful Club West Golf Course this morning and took 70 pictures with an 18-200 super zoom. All the mountains are full of green cover, the yellow blooms are a feast for the bees, and chipmunks and rabbits were enjoying the abundance of food. Golf may be a good walk spoiled, but with a camera, memories of a beautiful spring day are captured.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Lost Fan who tries and fails to figure it out

We are headed to Charleston's Restaurant for a meal with friends. Looking forward to it. I was enjoying last evening reading people's surmisings about the answers we will discover about this entertaining TV series Lost, and it winds down to an end.

I really enjoy those with the gift of analysis and the tools to remember all the revelations that have made this show so entertaining. I can't do it myself, but once a theory is out there I can evaluate it with the rest. I have always enjoyed that part of science fiction and theology that reflects on time travel, redemption, how God enters and directs our affairs while preserving our will and choices. Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ostrich Festival?

The Chandler Ostrich Festival returns this weekend. It is one of our local events I have managed never to attend. Carnivals are of no interest to me. Although it had been interesting to watch them set up in a field that has been soaked by more rain than I remember in recent years and is already becoming a mud bog.

My gym will be closed all weekend as it is the host of the event. I will have to walk or ride bikes for my exercise this weekend.

I have noticed with some sadness how quickly the news from Haiti and Chile has disappeared from our news, and how easily we move on to other things. I am comforted by the fact that many whose calling is to relieve suffering and respond long term to disaster are still in both places.

I continue to enjoy my long term interest in Irish/Celtic music. The tunes are so beautiful….simple and complex at the same time, joyful with a hint of sadness, thematic, memorable, transforming.

In my ministry, I am trying...maybe too hard....to help my people believe that God is benevolent, and present, with all mankind. My reading of Campbell's The Deliverance of God is getting to my heart.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

IMonk news is bad

I have been reading Micheal Spence rs blog for several years. He is one of the best writers I have ever read on the evangelical church and her struggles.

He wrote so poignantly on his desire to find a place where his new hopes, ideas and old gifts could be used, and I wanted that so badly for him. Instead, a brain tumor around Christmas and a terminal diagnosis this week. 53 years old.

Today is our daughter Melissa's 33rd Birthday. She has been a wonderful part of our lives, as has her hubby and kids. Not the most flattering pic but I am in a hurry.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The return of Movie Nights

We have a nice 9ft screen and a DVD projector in our Bible Study Room. For two years we watched movies old, new, funny and serious. Mostly those I have enjoyed over the years that I knew our group would enjoy.

Right from the beginning the sound on the little Dolby 5.1 was inadequate for the room size. I tried miking it through my guitar speaker, it was always a struggle so I stopped.

Last week on Amazon I saw a 66 percent off on a Phillips Sound Bar. I have Dolby 2.1 at home and this machine is awesome. It has an upscaling DVD player and room filling sound. Yahoo, I love electronics.

Tonight we enjoy a Disney Classic. Pollyanna. I love this movie. The cast is amazing, the subplots numerous, the message is simple but important. There were all kinds of power plays going on with attitude control, and the child in her weakness conquered with love. Yet the movie does not dodge the reality of suffering and problems.

The movie is 50 years old, Haley Mills is a year or too older than I am, and the setting of the movie is 100 years ago. The wrathful sermons of the preacher were mined from old manuscripts of early american preachers. The town folk are such important parts of the drama, as is the setting. I really am touched each time I see it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mass Choir Night

Some beautiful kids from Hamilton High

Each year the Churches in Sun Lakes put on a benifit for our Neighbors Who Care ministry. We each do two songs and then join 3 hundred voices for several numbers. I have to tell you it is a very moving experience to sing praises with that many people.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Testing all things with Biblical Theology

This is Trinity Presbyterian, Jackson Mississippi, where I was attending when I became a believer in high school. I was so excited I went to the church and asked if I could weed the flower beds in gratitude for the freedom I was experiencing.

Since I began revisiting the things I believe ten years ago and since each of us cannot really wipe the slate of beliefs clean, I have found myself using word studies to get to different ways of seeing truth. It is more like Biblical Theology that develops doctrines more closely related to the text and to the context of each book of scripture. Systematic Theology works more broadly and links ideas together and often makes assumptions based on already fixed ideas.

Like everything else, this recent study of the word ekklesia, or called out ones, or church has reminded me that some of my ideas are changing. I see the church as a more missional organization than I ever have, helped in large part by the reemphasis of this concept among younger ministers. The church is not the ark, holding the saved until heaven, but more like those landing boats used in the war, to carry us into the world to take beach heads and reach those in need.

She is not singing songs about the streets of gold, but bringing kingdom values to earth in our gatherings, our thinking, our ministry and our daily lives. The church is not an organization of spiritual privilege, but one summoned to give up some things for the sake of the high calling and to be His hands, and feet, and eyes in this world.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring, not recorded by forgetfulness

This is the golf course in Leisure World in Mesa, the site of last weeks match.

Club West in Auwatukee is one of the most beautiful desert mountain courses in our area. Several holes are elevated by several hundred feet. The mountains are green with fresh grasses and yellow flowers. A windy evening had cleared all the haze, and the pristine beauty was breathtaking.

This was the second time I packed my Canon Xsi to record some memories, and for the second time my recording chip was home in the computer. Brain blip, and no pics, enough said.

Dinner at Chili's, a waiting line...in always seems that our area is not econonmically depressed, or eating out is such a treat people will not give it up.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chewing on the left

After 13 months of healing, surgical insertion of a post, more healing, I have a brand new surgically implanted lower right molar made by human hands. I have been chewing on the left for so long its hard to break the habit. Its pretty cool when you think about it.

I was blogging when I had the surgery, this must be habit forming as well Post 555, and since I starting counting less that a year ago, 5000 reads, which is small, but I really appreciate each of you who stop by.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Heart breaking

There is nothing that violates our humanity as much as the death of a teenager to a rapist/murderer. Every time this happens my heart just breaks for the family whose love and hope for their daughter have been so heartlessly and cruely extinguished.

What kind of selfishness can drive a sex offender to this level of inhumanity? This is why in whatever sense of justice that arises in my heart, I think there is some sort of recompense to victims of crime, natural disaster, and disease. It may be a childish and immature idea, but it gives me comfort in this sad broken world. It is a wiping away of tears kind of thought.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Cat in the Hat

It's the Celebration of Dr. Seuss, held yearly on his birthday. I can no longer remember if my love of Dr. Seuss began when I was young or when I was reading them to my children. Those drawings are etched in my mind, his masterful use of words helped to spark my own interest in words, and his storylines dealt with universal moral and personal issues that make them timeless.

My wifey gets to reintroduce some of his works to first graders, and boy is she cute.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Politics, Healthcare, and my mental health

If I think about politics more than one half hour a day, I begin to fall into depression and experience a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, and pessimism that threatens to rob me of my trust in the Lord. I know we need government, I believe in good government. I pray for our leaders regularly. I just feel like we are careening out of control in so many ways. I do not however, join those pessimistic Christians, believing that God is using all this to call us to repentance, or punish us. There may be some sowing and reaping going on, and some rewards of foolishness, but not an apocalyptic scenario.

The pendulum swings both ways, and if indeed many democrats lose their seats, I am not quite as hopeful that the republicans will do all the things that need to be done to right the ship.

I think instead about being the gospel, teaching reconciliation (God’s kind, not mans), and to enjoy the marvel of living in the present and in the presence of God. I spent some time today with a wonderful couple fighting a very rare form of blood cancer. He is in his fourth year, very weak, but still asking God for more time to enjoy his family and his retirement, and I prayed for just that outcome, with all my heart.

I was at Mayo Clinic, by the way, a true Cadillac of hospital care. I am trying to picture what Obamacare would do to this historic health group. I am pretty sure they help lots of people, not just rich ones.