Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hard to Forget

More from Augustine . . . I'm wading through. He's describing the search for God using all human and divine faculties. He started with our senses (excerpted in an earlier post, "Valentine's Day: The Life of Life") and is now delving into mental faculties including memory:

What is forgetfulness . . . ? How then is it present so that I can remember it, since when it is present I am unable to remember?

Lord, I truly labor at this task, and I labor upon myself. I have become for myself a soil hard to work and demanding much sweat. We do not now explore the regions of the sky; we do not measure the distances of the stars; nor do we search out the weight of the earth. It is I who remember, I the mind. . . . Consider: the power of my own memory is not understood by me, and yet apart from it I cannot even name myself.

Even beyond memory will I pass, so that I may find you -- where? O truly good and certain delight, so that I may find you where? If I find you apart from memory, I am unmindful of you. How then shall I find you, if I do not remember you? (Augustine's Confessions, 10.16-18 [24-26])

Monday, February 23, 2009

Getting Physical

Last year, my 40th birthday year, I had a physical. This year, our church’s 140th birthday year, we were accepted into the "Matthew 28" process: "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And, remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." On the practical level, this process brings us the benefits of a comprehensive "history and physical assessment", complete with recommendations for our health, fitness, and MISSION for the next chapter of our life together.

The first phase, the "history", is a self-assessment report including membership, worship, and financial trends as well as analysis of our community, our "mission field". Thanks to everyone who has gathered data, created charts, and written responses.

The second phase, the "physical assessment" is coming up March 13-15. On Friday the 13th, Dr. Paul Borden and a team, including persons from our annual conference who are learning this process from him, will interview Pastor JP and the staff. We will also have an evening focus group. On Saturday the 14th, the team will meet with our church leadership. On Sunday, March 15th, we will have a combined worship service at 9:30 am with Dr. Paul Borden speaking. This will be followed by a Sunday School hour (11:00 - 12:00), where we will hear Dr. Borden’s recommendations. Afterwards, we’ll have a covered dish luncheon. You won’t want to miss this important day. Please feel free to contact me or one of our leaders with any questions.

Like any "physical", we may hear some uncomfortable news. None of us get excited about changing our diets or exercising more. I am personally grateful that Dr. Borden will be leading our assessment team. I have heard him speak several times, read his books, and been at table with him. His heart burns for healthy, vibrant churches making a difference and making disciples.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thursday groups for Lent

This year’s Lenten Dinner series will feature a discussion of Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living, by Rueben Job (book and video). Each evening, after the 6:00 dinner, we’ll show a short video (8-12 minutes) and then discuss at our tables. The theme of the book is developed around the original "Rules for the United Societies" developed by John Wesley in the 1700's:

Do no harm.
Do all the good you can.
Stay in love with God. (Originally stated as "attend upon the ordinances of God")

The dinners will be a wonderful church-wide small group experience. We plan to offer short videos for children as well. If you would be willing to take a turn with the children, please contact the office. The book is available for purchase at the office, or at the dinners, for only $4.

Sylvia Henry is launching a prayer group on Thursday nights at 5:30 pm in the chapel, immediately prior to the Lenten Dinners. The focus of the group at this time will be prayer for our mission in our community and for God to work in us through the Matthew 28 process.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New members!

Congrats to Charles & Donna, Chuck & Lorri as they were presented for membership by Chris & Lori in the 11:15 service this past Sunday. Bob, the photog for the day, insisted that I make the last pic public.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stimulating the Economy

Honorata Quispe de Soto Group

A simple way to make a tangible difference.

Mother Teresa and Jonah

A prayer of Mother Teresa's that we used this past week as we completed our series on Jonah with "Jonah the Suicidal Evangelist: How NOT to be Happy":

May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Youth to Ski Roundtop

Friday evening some of our youth headed to Ski Roundtop for some snow tubing fun. Thanks to Jana, Khris, and Tammy for their intrepid leadership!

Valentine's Day: Life of Life

From Augustine's Confessions, on loving God "the life of life" (10.6.8):

. . . What is it then that I love when I love you? Not bodily beauty, and not temporal glory, not the clear shining light, lovely as it is to our eyes, not the sweet melodies of many-moded songs, not the soft smell of flowers and ointments and perfumes, not manna and honey, not limbs made for the body's embrace, not these do I love when I love my God.

Yet I do love a certain light, a certain voice, a certain odor, a certain food, a certain embrace when I love my God: a light, a voice, an odor, a food, an embrace for the man within me, where his light, which no place can contain, floods into my soul; where he utters words that time does not speed away; where he sends forth an aroma that no wind can scatter; where he provides food that no eating can lessen; where he so clings that satiety does not sunder us. This is what I love when I love my God.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Found a fun book recently: Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . . Understanding Philosophy through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein. Here's one on "essentialism" in the chapter on "metaphysics". (And, "essentialism" deals with characteristics of a person or thing, which are the "essence" and which are accidental.)

When Thompson hit seventy, he decided to change his lifestyle completely so that he could live longer. He went on a strict diet, he jogged, he swam, and he took sunbaths. In just three months' time, Thompson lost thirty pounds, reduced his waist by six inches, and expanded his chest by five inches. Svelte and tan, he decided to top it all off with a sporty new haircut. Afterward, while stepping out of the barbershop, he was hit by a bus.
As he lay dying, he cried out, "God, how could you do this to me?"
And a voice from the heavens responded, "To tell you the truth, Thompson, I didn't recognize you."

Friday, February 13, 2009


We enjoyed having our District Superintendent, Rev. Mark Webb, bring the message in worship this past Sunday (pic from our 9:00 am "traditional" service). He spoke on the "truth about transformation" and used the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19) and the call to "make disciples" (Matthew 28:18-20). He emphasized that "to be used to transform the world, we first must be available to be transformed" and spoke about several steps to transformation: Put yourself in a place to see Jesus every moment of every day; claim the truth that Jesus accepts and loves you just as you are; open your life to the instruction of Jesus and be willing to go deep; choose to surrender.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


This past weekend, we had a wonderful workshop, led by Gary and I, on spiritual gifts and ministry calling. It was designed to increase our awareness, identify our gifts, and open new paths for ministry. Each person took a spiritual gifts inventory. I wasn't entirely surprised by what mine showed, but the top gifts were a bit different than I expected: Missionary, Voluntary Poverty, Evangelism, Faith. Thanks to Gary for the wonderful partnership in teaching and planning, to Josie and the kitchen crew for great snacks and Saturday lunch, to Khris for the styrofoam cup images, to Jana who showed up with a report on Corinth, to our table leaders, and to all who came!

Monday, February 9, 2009


Last Wednesday night, persons from all over York participated in a count of the unsheltered homeless. Our own Denny S. was on one of the teams. Check out the local article, and photos.

The first ever Polar Bear Plunge was held on Saturday to raise funds for the York County Special Olympics. Our own Bob L. was one of the brave (crazy?) folks who jumped into the 40 degree waters of the Susquehanna.

Continue to pray for our brothers and sisters of Shenberger's Chapel, which was destroyed by a fire last week.