Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sacred Spaces

Yesterday I was chatting with a friend of mine who is church planting in Tulsa, OK and is looking into new facilities for the church. His church is very international and has a desire to reach the many nationalities represented in Tulsa that are currently in need of the good news of Christ.

So we were talking about how older church buildings have sacred spaces with added facilities, versus the more modern emphasis on multipurpose rooms that can provide a number of options. On a pragmatic level. the multipurpose concept is very user friendly. It can by a gym, sanctuary, hall, whatever....

But there is also something appealing about a sanctuary. When you are reaching people who have grown up going to temples, mosques, shrines, etc...... , would it not be better for the church to demonstrate the importance of a sacred space?

Now I do recongnize that you can go overboard with sacred spaces. I am not a big fan of some Gothic Cathedrals that are ornate. I tend to like Romanesque Catherdrals. Simple & Sacred.

I am inclined to side with my friend that a sanctuary is important. We need space to be silent, to draw close to God and a sanctuary has that ability. I do tend to be pragmatic so part of me likes the multiuse concept, but I am not sure I would want to give up the value of having a sanctuary.

What do you think? Comments?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Proverbs 31 - a fresh approach

This Sunday we will finish the book of Proverbs by looking at Proverbs 31. Sadly, for many Christians, Proverbs 31 has only one application => what a perfect wife should look like.

Dr. Bruce Waltke, an Old Testament professor at RTS Orlando and Regent College in Vancouver disagrees with that only application. Dr. Waltke who has written the best commentary on Proverbs does a wonderful job exegeting Proverbs 31 from a Biblical perspective that is not limited to just one simple application.

Consider just this for a moment. Why do you think the book of Proverbs ends on this poem? Is it just tacked onto the end of Proverbs with no real connection to the rest of the book, or is it meant to be understood as a summary to Proverbs? Find out Sunday as we look at Proverbs 31 from a fresh perpective.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Last fling before school starts

Well, you might of guess from the lack of blog entries, we have been out of town. We went north (again) for some hiking in the White Mountains. We hiked 6.2 miles (10 k for my Canadian friends) with an elevation change of 3600 ft. (1200 m).

I was impressed that our kids were able to handle the climbs and hope to get one more trip in before the snow flies. This was certainly our last summer trip given that school starts tomorrow.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Prayer Quote

From John Smed, pastor of Grace Vancouver Church in British Columbia on prayer. Thought provoking....

Nothing but prayer can bring us out of todays' warp speed. Real prayer is a sacred place where being driven ends and communion begins. God meets us in prayer in a way like no other. God enters into heart and life. He then transforms the rest of our space and time into sacred space. Talking turns into care and communication. Daily interactions become ministry opportunities. Technology and media diversions lose their addictive grip and we are able to engage with the present. Prayer is sacred space and prayer carves out sacred space from the rest of life.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rev. Jon Taylor Preaching

So this Sunday is a "pulpit swap". Jon Taylor from Church of the Redeeemer in Manchester, NH will be coming to preach at Christ Presbyterian while I go up to his church and preach. Jon and I have done this a couple times and it is very helpful.

Jon is well known to the congregation and I know will be a blessing. Jon has been church planting in Manchester for a couple of years. He will be preaching from the Gospel of Mark while I will be finishing Proverbs.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Prayer & Planning

Tuesday we are having the 1st Prayer & Planning Meeting for the church since I arrived 2 years ago. Ministry Coordinators with the leadership are gathering to look at the church year and make recommendations and plans for all areas of ministry. Outreach, mercy, education, worship, etc.....

A good part of the time will be spent in prayer, asking for God's help in discerning the future and implaneting our goals. This meeting has been long in coming and very important. I am feeling like a broken record, but it is a critical year for us as a church. Pray for us as we seek to work together and share the good news of Christ with Nashua.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Stop @ Williams College

Here is a picture of the Haystack Monument @ Williams College in Williamstown, MA. Very nice park in the northern part of the campus. Couple scuptures and this memorial. The site of the monument is said to be the place where Francis Robbins, James Richards, Harvey Loomis, Byram Green, and of course Samuel Mills actually prayed.

I was glad I made the extra effort from Northampton to see Missions Park in Williamstown. I will admit, it was not much of a sacrifice. The drive was scenic and the weather was perfect.
After visiting Missions Park in the morning, Drew and I made our way home via Southern Vermont through Bennington, Battleboro and then into NH through Keene. The southern Green mountains were worth the drive and I hope to find an opportunity to visit that region again. I got a decent amount of work done and I feel inspired by the trip. If your ever out this way, I would try and make sure to visit this part of New England.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

On the road in Northampton

I decide to take some time away to pray, be inspired by history and get some much needed planning done for the church. So Weds. I travelled to Northampton, MA and spent the afternoon looking for Jonathan Edwards. I was successful in some regards and found almost everything I was looking for (site of the church, Edward's Home, Stoddard's Home, Cemetery,etc..) I had done some research beforehand and it proved useful to the trip.

Northampton is an interesting town, I am looking forward to visiting again to do some more research. It actually reminded me of some of the towns I travel through last year in Southern England. Very charming and lots going on.

I travelled up through the Berkshires to Vermont to camp for the night. Before I head home on Thursday, I am going to stop at Missions Park in Williamstown, famous for the Haystack Prayer Meeting which took place 200 years ago this month. So far, it has been a very inspiring trip.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sermon: Trusting the Lord

Prov. 3:26 For the LORD will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.

Prov. 14:26 In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge.

Our last topic from Proverbs is a simple one, trusting God. Since this is a fairly straightforward topic, we are going to try and approach it from a fresh perspective. Why is it that we DO NOT trust God? What prevents us from placing our confidence in Christ?

Our last sermon on Proverbs will come on Labor Day Weekend. We are saving the best for last, Proverbs 31.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

History Channel

So we all know that sometimes what is promised in an upcoming TV program does not always turn out good or interesting. For example, a couple weeks ago we as a family were looking forward to a special on the Discovery Channel about the Giant Squid. It was interesting, but not amazing compared to all the hype leading up to the program.

So with this disclaimer out of the way, I wanted to mention a TV program coming up this Sunday on the History Channel. It is called "The Exodus Decoded". Sounds suspicious to me, but I recently saw an interview of the film maker, Simcha Jacobovici, and I was fairly impressed with the footage I saw. If you have the time, check it out, this Sunday @ 8:00 p.m.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hiking Mt Kearsarge

Over the weekend, Allison and I took the family up Mt Kearsarge (2937 ft), which is a real easy hike with a 360 degree view of Vermont, the White Mountains and even Boston on a clear day.

Next Saturday we are hoping to take a number of church folks with us to enjoy the view and the experience of being outdoors in NH. If your interested in the hike, email me and we will send you the info about gathering times and what to bring. So far a number of families have signed up and it should be a great time. I am looking forward to it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Why not an Apple?

So earlier this week I was keeping a low profile because my Apple ibook went kaputt. This is necessary given how often I taunt my PC buddies who use Microsoft. But I am willing to reveal my experience with my broken ibook for the sake of further bragging.

Monday - the computer was locking up, not working properly. Contacted Apple, spent an hour on the phone with a nice lady who told me it was a hardware issue. It needed to be returned to Apple.

Tuesday - box arrived to ship, sent it overnight to Memphis, TN.

Wednesday - ibook repaired, new hard drive and cables, shipped back to New Hampshire

Thursday - received my ibook in the morning

Cost - $ 0

I had AppleCare which did cost $200, but covers the ibook for 3 years and it covers repairs and phone support.

I was very impressed with the service and my ibook is back to normal, in fact I am typing this blog with the ibook. This experience has helped to solidify that the next church computer will most likely be an Apple again.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rodney Collin's Preaching this Sunday

August has been a time for me to slow down and get ready for the fall, and I am blessed to have some brothers help fill the pulpit. Rev. Rodney Collins is apart of our Presbytery and helped tutor me while I was going through ordination. I am certain he will be a blessing to the congregation this Sunday.

Hebrews 1

1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Significance of the HPM

I am sure many of you have heard of such organizations as Inter-Varsity, Navigators, ESI, ELIC, & Campus Crusade. These are all ministries with a global vision to reach the nations with the Gospel. Their ministries utilize young people, students, to accomplish the mission. You don't need a Master's of Divinity, just a heart to follow God and a desire to have an impact on our world for the sake of Christ.

The Haystack Prayer Meeting (HPM) was the birth place of this notion that students could have an impact on the world. All those organizations mentioned above have built on the HPM foundation, and I believe we are better for it as a church. Young people with a passion to serve for a summer, one year or more has lasting effects for the Kingdom.

As a self professed church history nerd, I am excited about the 200th anniversary of the HPM. I am hoping to make a trip out to Williams College this month and visit the monument that commemorates the event.

As a former teacher in China with ESI, I am grateful to the men of the HPM that demonstrated that students can indeed make a difference for the Kingdom. My year in China made a significant impression on me and gave me a heart for ministry in China. I am so thankful that ESI exists, for it helped develop in me a global vision.

HPM is more than an event, it was the beginning of a student lead campaign that continues today. We are indebted to those 4 men who endured a storm in order to birth a movement far beyond their expectations.

Monday, August 07, 2006

200th Anniversary of the HPM

Haystack Prayer Meeting (HPM)

On a sultry Saturday afternoon in August, 1806, Mills and four other students gathered as usual in the maple grove of Sloan's Meadow for one of their twice-weekly prayer meetings. Thunderclouds broke open the sky, driving the students to seek shelter from the rain on the lee side of a great haystack. With thought turned toward their classroom studies of Asia and the East India Company, Mills shared his burden that Christianity be sent abroad. With the exception of Harvey Loomis, who felt that missionary efforts should first be concentrated domestically, Mills, Byram Green, Francis L. Robbins, and James Richards prayed that American missions would spread Christianity through the East.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

John Piper => Doing Missions When Dying is Gain

I have heard a number of folks comment on this sermon by John Piper. Some have said this is the best sermon they have ever heard from him, which is an amazing statement by itself. I am going to listen to it soon, but I would be interested in hearing what you think. Enjoy!

footnote=> the link to the sermon is from another website. I may try and make it available on after hearing it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sermon: Parenting

When I put this topic on my top 10 topics according to Proverbs I thought this would be one of my easiest sermons to formulate. But I forgot about verses like this in Proverbs....

Prov. 13:24 He who withholds his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently

Corporal punishment is a hot topic in our society today. There are diffferent views within the church as well on spanking children. How do we deal with verses like this is Proverbs given the current trend in the U.S. that wants to ban corporal punishment of children?

Proverbs has more to say about parenting and it should be a good opportunity for all of us to see what Proverbs has to stay about Parenting.

Prov. 1:8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction
And do not forsake your mother's teaching;

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

hot enough?

Our forecast temp for today is 104 F, 40 C. Not a day I am looking forward to enduring.

It occured to me that cold snowy winter days have one thing in common to hot humid summer days. In both cases, all you want to do is stay inside and avoid the weather.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hiking in the White Mountains

From the picture you can figure out what AT stands for, Appalachian Trail (AT). Now to be honest, we hiked the AT for only a few meters before going off on other trails. But I am looking forward to future opportunities to hike the AT in NH. I could be wrong, but some of the best parts of the AT are in NH. There is one section that follows the ridge line of the Presidential Mountains that looks spectacular.

This weekend was a real blessing for us as a family. We have not had much time away this summer and it was good to get out and enjoy the beauty of our state. Ministry in NH is slow going, but times like this remind me of the blessing of living in NH.

We hope to get up north one more time this summer before school starts. Hopefully we can get a chance to do some more hiking in the White Mountains.