Hawaii 2010

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Music time

St. Joseph Hospital and Barrow's Clinic down-town.

I love my collection of Christmas music and try to add one or two each year. Bought Amy Grant's classic "Home for Christmas" to play a song at Bible Study and Laura who loves all things Buble' asked for his recently released Christmas Album.

It funny that I just learned that my smartphone has unlimited use in 3g in a parented in plan. I had been stingy in playing music from the Amazon Cloud, but turns out I can use it as much as I want, which will be great for the gym.

Last years favorites were Enya's Christmas album and Yo Yo Ma's Dona, Nobis, Pacem.

A surprising solution to saving money

Laura is digging the Xoom as well.

Please don't judge me because I embrace the internet, and enjoy cutting edge technology. Some churches employ technology people to communicate with people and use the new media effectively, and here, its me, part of the package. Pastor Don, pastor, amateur photographer, web and mail manager, occasionally will sweep walks and arrange desks and chairs, gives rides, available for golf.

So I tell the Verizon guy I am paying for three internet ramps and its too much. He shows me how to save money because the tablet is a tether and remote hotspot. Goodbye WWAN usb connector, get to keep the smart phone and still save each month a goodly portion. All three laptops me and the church use are automatically online when in the vicinity of the tablet, super cool. I was so impressed with the technician I asked him for advice in selling my timeshare??????!!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Juggling on line ramps

Bought a Black Friday deal at Verizon, a Motorola Xoom 4G tablet. Here is my thinking, I have owned a smart phone for almost 2 years, and I love it....too much....I have become dependent on it for news and reading my theo blogs, checking Email ect. It is very small and hard to read, and answers are hard to type. I have also pulled it out when driving or with friends too often.

I look forward to the day when each family pays for one online ramp to the internet for all their devices, the present plan is too expensive. So, I am going back to a regular phone, and using the tablet for browsing, emails, scheduling, and all the incredible cool apps that Android has developed. It will still be with me in the man bag, but just not quite so accessible that I overuse it. I love the Xoom so far, and it sold at a screaming price.

Jesus is my Messiah

Took the point and shoot out to golf last week and shot a low one into the morning sun. I like it.

I spent some weeks this summer discussing the issue of God Behaving Badly in the Old Covenant and how this was not God's ultimate purpose for nation to be killing nations physically in conquest.

At the same time there is an indissoluble link between the promises God made to Israel and to the Church, same deliverer like Moses, same King like David.

The break is in the area of grace and peace and loving and praying for our enemies, for in this we become servants of the Prince of peace.

The peaceable Kingdom is our calling to build, amidst the false gods and violent upheavals in the quest for power we see in the world. I am hoping to develop in my flock the idea that we are servants of the King now, and not just deciders to believe in Jesus for life after death, but disciples to follow him in life and to victory.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Did the Pilgrims discover Popcorn?

We love popcorn snacking around this house, and movies and popcorn are made to go together. My friend Larry has the large popper he keeps filled in his home but we just don't have the room for a big one.....so I bought a small one that Laura expressed interest in. It has the same fun of watching the corn spill out of the kettle and keeping the corn moving while it heats.

So far we have been dissapointed by the number of unpopped kernels that get blown out of the small kettle. I have glued pennies on the top to keep this from happening and have cut the rate of wasted corn in half.

We cannot wait to have the grand kids see this toy in action, and yes, to me the corn only serves as a transport system for buuuutttteeerr!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The nectar of God

We have some friends who summer in their home in Vermont and bring us a yearly present that keeps on giving. Pure Vermont maple syrup makes any attempt at Aunt Jamima like syrups taste terrible.

It is so sweet and pure and Vermonty. Our grand kids love Waffles with real butter and Vermont Real Syrup. It is one of God's most precious gifts.

Friday, November 25, 2011

4.7 degrees of separation??

Yesterday I had turkey with three owners of the company that provided the turkeys for the turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House. They donated the 30 turkeys that were chosen to be domesticated and people friendly by the Willmar 4H kids.

The man who placed the turkey on the table and the man who held the turkey and his wife and daughter were all related to our dinner party. So, I was for a brief moment connected to the White House through people I know....I think that's how the degrees of separation this goes??

It was a good day, I ate past fullness, but cannot hold as much as I used to. The dressing had raisins and other fruit in it, and the turkey was butter basted and delicious.

Back to the gym to work myself down the few pounds of feasting added to my storage units, IE, belly, and where ever.

I bought something at a Black Friday sale, the result of trying to take advantage of the information age in the most manageable manner given my needs, interests, callings, and habits. More on that later.

I am going to start enjoying seasonal music this weekend, another year whisking away into the past, and me, increasingly grateful to be enjoying it all so dearly.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Enjoy Thanksgiving

So many memories of Thanksgivings past, and sincere blessings to friends and family who stop by to check in to my current post. I am watching the pre parade in NYC, and remembering how much I love this parade.

I spoke a bit prophetically last evening on the struggles that may be ahead if we don't get our debt problems under control. I pray that we will choose the harder path with leads to freedom.

I will still cherish all the normal cultural fun that has been America in all her quirky, beautiful, creative, reality.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

JFK Assassination Anniversary

Fourty Eight years ago I became an adult. I heard the news during lunch hour, was the first to take the news to the teachers table and was yelled at for fibbing. The whole week is etched into my memory as the week I lost the innocence and joy of youth and realized that evil sometimes succeeds.

Over the decades my interest in the conspiriacy theories gave me lots of reading and searching time. I still do not believe we know the whole story but it really won't make a difference all these years later.

A Nice Break Ahead

The young lady in this picture has her first good camera and lens. We had a nice discussion about sunsets on Maui.

We gather on Thanksgiving Eve for a service, but all other meetings are off for the week. I am enjoying the time to reflect and read for Christmas emphasis.

Purchased a new tower computer for our administrative Assistant, another Dell, her present machine is 2003 so its time. She needs a flat screen, her old box looks ancient in computer time.

So thankful for Al and Freddy for taking down the borrowed video screen this week. He promised to work on a few of the connections that were not working.

Visited an elderly friend so ready to die, but is going home after a week with illness. This saint lost his wife last year and enjoys his walk with the Lord and the care of his family, but his body is wearing out.

I am hoping the mess that is Congress can get hold of runaway spending, I am not a big government guy, we need safety nets but not a nanny state. Help us!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pre Feasting

This was hot dishes, another table full of salad dishes, another full of deserts. Sheesh! It was goooood.

Its not so much Turkey Day but the tendency around the church to pre feast. I have had multiple opportunities to eat past fullness and the tradition and time of the year have me falling into the old patterns of eating.

Not to worry, just keep up the exercise, eat well on the normal days, and it will be a great week of thankfulness for continued bounty.

Times are hard, I am learning to be content.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kubili shares her life

Four years of college, one year of post grad work, three years of initial Indonesian living, serving and language learning, now two plus years of living in a tribe of people in the Indonesian interior called the Nagi People. New Tribes Ministry serves as her sending agency and supports the work faithfully.

Today she shared her progress with the language, the day to day living among a group of people who have no stores, who live and eat and marry in a world of ancient superstitions and fears.

She and her room mate have indoor plumbing, and a small fridge, washer dryer, lights and a computer connection all powered by energy from the sun on the roof.

This gospel cross cultural thrust of missions draws deeply dedicated Christians to give what they cannot keep to gain what they cannot lose, and to serve the King on the outer edges of the worlds populations. Kubuli is utterly charming and so full of love for children and a spirit of cooperation with her team that we are proud to know her and support her.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Part A goes into Part B, which connects to C

The yearly sale to build a kitty for special projects and repairs to our Sun Lakes Chapel is over, I hope lots of money was made by the many volunteers.

Today I attempted to put a large projector screen together and got hopelessly confused at which point I called in friends who also had great difficulty following the very poor directions of ill fitting tubes over which a screen sheath slide and tightens with Velcro strips.

This project will enhance our visit with Kubili C tommorrow. She is on her second furlow from missionary training and real missionary living among an unreached tribe in the depths of the Indonesian Islands.

Her willingness to answer the inner call to serve through New Tribes Mission inspires me and puts her on my living heroes list.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's the season again

Things are bustling around Sun Lakes with two big rummage sales to raise money, the occasional garage sales so people can exchange stuff.

We finished our third year of involvement with Franklin Graham's Christmas Gift program with has really grown to be a major event in good will and mission around the world.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

God Wins

That's the name of Mark Galli's response to Rob Bell's Love Wins. He thinks its a better way to understand the Gospel.

It is a continuing conversation (love that word) about the relationship between mercy and justice. Galli is defending Augustinian theology, which is the ground on which all western theology rests. Hell has to exist because God will be just. The bible teaches Hell no matter how queasy it makes you feel about God and His character so get used to it. Doctrine trumps your feelings or questioning a God who is love who subjects the majority of all humanity to eternal conscious torment.

The book never seeks to answer the gentle musings of Bell about the actual scriptural teaching of "eternal conscious torment". Bell believes in right and wrong, and justice and mercy as does Galli, but he questions the justice of a one size fits all, throw away the key and prepare for pain for 15 trillion years, which you can never pay back. 15 trillion????where have I heard that word????

So do I. Augustine's prolific writing and foundational thought I believe, as do others, misses the nuances of the Greek word "aion" or "eon". The man did not know Greek. There is a word for eternal in the bible, a different word, and one applied to God alone, who has no beginning. An eon is a word demarking time, short or long duration, and no matter how you put the adjectives together they never become non-time or eternal.

This has enormous implications at to our understanding of Heaven and Hell. Galli says we should stay in the box Augustine created four hundred years after the death and resurrection of Christ, the various uses of the word eon, or age, could thus be termed "age enduring correction or punishment" and open the door for love winning and God winning through ultimate restoration at the end of the ages. Remember its a conversation, no stone throwing, we should be past old covenant stone throwing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alkalized Water

Studying nutrition is like studying theology, lots of schools of thought, debates, disagreements, old wives tales, ect.

I like the concept of Kundun water, discovered by a Russian scientist and popularized by Japan. I could not figure out why the companies wanted to sell you an expensive machine until I read that the process of alkalizing the water had not been stable. It has to be consumed within two days or it returns to balance.

Drinkrealwater.com has a bottled product I found at a Costco that seems to have stabilized the process and I am working my way through a case of it. I like what they do in the purification process and the reverse osmosis, and I am believing the claims of what the magnetizing electric process does to the water and its PH and oxidation enhancements. Check it out if you have interest.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Elvis performers are very dedicated

The Elvis mentioned something I did not know. For all the hundreds of songs Elvis recorded in his career and all the fame and money he earned, his only grammy, the only musical recognition or award he won was for a gospel song. It was for How Great Thou Art.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hell yes!

We had some very creative fall centerpieces by Butch decorating the tables at our Fall dinner last evening.

I am in possession of two books written in response to Rob Bell's book Love Wins. I continue to be impressed with this conversation and look forward to reading them both.

Met another author making a very specific prediction about the rapture of the church, and unlike Camping this man has pursued his studies on the shoulders of the great premillenial authors of the early part of last century. Another interesting conversation. If he is right we have little time for further reflection.

Can you tell I am enjoying using this new buzzword conversation. I believe Martin Luther was seeking debate, ie conversation back and forth with Roman Catholic scholars. There violent response led to a religious war unimaginable in our own modern mind, at least I hope it is unimaginable.

The failure to consider and reconsider has charactarized failed religion over the centuries.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bells and Cellos and French Horns

The Sun Lakes Handbell Choir did some beautiful hymns today, expecially on the Welsh tune Ash Grove.

The theme of native folk music was expanded in the afternoon Chandler Symphony Concert featuring Gustave Mahler Symphony #1 in D. This in addition to a Saint Seans Cello movement with a very talented musician.

I am not an expert in classical music but I enjoy the exposure to different pieces from that magical period when instumental music hit its peak.

On our way to another piano concert this evening along with a delicious meal prepared by the phase one restaurant.

I really do, unfortunately miss alot by the competing sound of tinnitus ringing in my ears. I am so glad that music masks the problem to a good degree.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

On the playing of musical instruments

This young man mastered classical guitar while being home schooled and just decided not to become a professional musician in favor of keeping it fun and a hobby. I agreed but was inspired with his skill and memorization discipline.

I learned the Tonette in 3rd grade, my folks bought me a trumpet in fourth grade with I played through the ninth grade including a year in marching band. I wish I had kept playing in the band in high school, but that ended my instrumental playing for twenty years until I bought a guitar which I still play and got into my Irish whistle phase in 2006.

I purchased a flute for my daughter when she was in sixth grade which she played quite well through high school, when she lost interest and it went up on the shelf.
I rescued it a year ago and learned to get a tone, play a scale, practice simple hymns.

Today I drove to Milano's Music, fought my way through Western Days exhibits and picked up that flute with was cleaned, repaded, and generally repaired. It is twenty years old but I was told it is a solid student flute.

The joy of playing guitar and flute for myself and not with perfection answers a deep need in me to make music. My love for the tones of the flute, for sharps and flats, and the expense of the refurbishing mean that my two valuable whistles with be going up for sale soon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I've grown accustomed to her face

While I hit the links with friends my wife hit the Mall and scored some shoes and clothes and generally enjoyed herself, then the grand kids spent an unexpected evening with us while parents attended a business function.

A family day is a precious day, and this picture of my wife way back in college reminds me how great a life companion is, and all the life that flows from love.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Some serious bubble gum action at the Elvis Party last week.

Nov. 11,11 I like it,I am sure I will feel the same when I wake up. My dear wife gets a day off, and I hope to hit the links even though the weather is a bit iffy.

I am surrounded by healthy active 80 year olds, and I like it, and hope longevity is catching.

Speaking of eleven, I am heading toward the eleventh anniversary of my first heart attack, the one that I did not recognize until I lived with it for seven hours, and the one that did the most damage because of my stubbornness. I thank God for the time I have had since then, and for the strong heart beat, really low pulse, great blood pressure readings and great health I am enjoying after more than a decade.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jury pool #13 passed by again

A stutue of a family outside the Maricopa County Circuit Court in downtown Phoenix, naked as jaybirds it seems.

I have been answering jury summons for 35 years, and have never been chosen to serve on a jury except a week on a grand jury in the late 70s.

They look for a jury of their peers and one lawyer or another decides that a minister is not a good peer. I make all the cuts right up until we introduce ourselves and say what we do, and boom, I am otta there!

I have no other reason except to admit, I have no peers?!!!! I am peerless!!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paul, sublime and absurd at times

Gun Turrent, USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Hawaii

I have always loved the Pauline epistles, some of the explanations of the Gospel are so wonderful and the insights so perfect that I marvel, and then some things he says just grate against my sensibilities and I see him as a semi reformed pharasee trying to legislate against the freedoms of the new covenant he defends and explained so well.

I am rereading Scott McKnights book on Bible reading and discernment and find myself really valuing his advice of reading the bible as a story and seeing the context of each book and its author, Isaiah's way for Isaiahs days, thus even Paul can be caught in a cultural dynamic that no longer exists. The perpetual inferiority of women and the silence passages are the point at which he has changed his thinking and so have I, thank God. Men are saved by faith, women by childbirth????? What?????

Convincing a person who grew up with a flat and strict literal understanding, along with the usual convenience of ignoring your own uncomfortable passages and enforcing those you life, make the job of Bible exposition a challenge.

Monday, November 7, 2011

New and Old

For years the former quansite hut served as the worship home of Grace Community Church, as we grew we could squeeze 130 in, and then we went to two services. It was then that I realize that my sermon would change with the audience response and my sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit.

For a while I was troubled that I was not able to stay and watch the city reach its goals, but as I look back it was as it should have been, and my health issues have been better served where I am.

Today I write at the Gym, having finished 30 minutes of aerobic heart exercise and 30 minutes of weights and stretching. Glad I get to concentrate of making my body the dwelling place of God and not about bricks and mortgages.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A meaningful memory

Ten years ago today I led worship in a brand new building that took years of planning and giving and some borrowing to complete. It was the fulfillment of some of what I came west to do in 1989. I wanted to help a church reach another level of growth and usefulness.
In 95 when I began serving there were two buildings and a picnic shelter, yesterday I passed by five buildings, including a doubling of the size of that original new sanctuary. The whole area has grown significantly and they have a Christian School now, something we could not have foreseen or prepared for back then.
It was a rich and challenging time, I was able to have a home large enough for raising teens and a nice pool in the backyard, and we grew from 50 to over 200. Now they have multiple services and over 1000 attending, and that is good.
I would stay one year and enjoy the new building when I would know it was time to leave. There were some struggles to find the right leaders and a church merger that would allow things to go forward.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Queen Creek Dream

When I served a church in Queen Creek, the place was beginning to boom, there was one little corner and a huge triangle of empty space. Yesterday everything they envisioned has happened, including a by-pass around town that enables the downtown to have a feel of safety.

When I used to visit my poor friends, they were miles out in the middle of nowhere, now they are less than a mile from a McDonalds and a shopping center beyond them.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The other side of the story

Last week I shared the success of the Rainbow Acres vision, and how fortunate those are who live there. Today I stopped to see a family that had been part of the church I served a decade ago The family have various mental, emotional, and physical handicaps and with the passing of parents they are fending for themselves with a lot of governmental aid.

We all helped as much as we could, but both families have merged in that little trailer and it is meager.

I asked about their diet and she said, mostly mac and chess and hotdogs. Years ago they had a new mobile home but lost it, and things have been poverty level since then. Very sad, but they are doing the best they can.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Big Bang Theory

I love this picture.

Is one of the funniest nerd comedies ever written. The characters are so full of comedic possibilities that we laugh out loud each week. The brilliant but emotionally imbalanced one, the normal and love starved guy, the Indian lonely guy, the Jewish momas boy, the frustrated starlet. Great stuff.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Liver, love it or leave it

Today I had liver and onions from a family restaurant. It tasted good but I think I have had my fill for a while. I was on my way to our family owned music store called Milano's in Mesa to give my flute a check up and repair, probably the first one since Melissa was in High School, a key is sticking. I love seeing all the instruments and musical equipment in that place.

Had a good missions prayer meeting tonight, kingdom building around the world is vital and worth our concentrated prayers.

This post is done on my new Toshiba Satellite which finally has the software to run my internet link. Slowly this new machine will be my daily go to workhorse, and I like it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Interfaith meetings

I just friended Johnny C recently, the guy of the left, one of the most naturally funny people I have ever met. These best men meant a lot to me during my college years.

I sat with an academic theologian a few days ago that described a meeting that produced the Cordova statement, which was inspired, she said, by a time in Spain where the three major faiths lived together in peace for a period of time.

Then I received an evangelical periodical which stated dogmatically that any Muslim talking about peace was being unfaithful to the Koran.

Its all confusing, because a Christian nation should be following the teaching of Christ about her enemies, should'nt we???? I just keep hearing the "them or us" showdown talk around me too much. I said I was not going there!!!!